What responsibility does Property Management have to get my neighbor to stop smoking since we live in a non-smoking complex?

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What responsibility does Property Management have to get my neighbor to stop smoking since we live in a non-smoking complex?

We signed a 1year lease at an apartment complex. Our lease strictly states that it is a non-smoking complex; smoking is prohibited anywhere on the property. Since we have moved in our bathroom wreaks of cigarette smoke. We have to keep our bathroom door shut, but all we have in the bathroom is a ventilation fan and no windows so that doesn’t help much. I am extremely sensitive to smoke and it makes me physically sick, along with my 9 year old son. We have talked to the Property Management several times and they originally told me that we live in an old building and the tenants have been here for many years so they are all still on the old lease that allows them to smoke. They are trying to transfer to the new lease but they said it takes time. I think they sent notices because the outside smoking has stopped the inside smoking hasn’t. Should the property management have disclosed this to us when we were signing our lease? The non-smoking clause is what attracted us to the complex. What should I do? We don’t want to have to move. What responsibility does the Property Management have?

Asked on February 13, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The Property Manager is the agent of the owner.  He or she can bind the owner through contracts (leases) and deeds. Someone needs to read your lease and speak with you about your leasehold.  You can not violate the terms of the lease and smoke.  However, your lease does not bind the other tenants who do not have such clauses.  But, if one needs to read what the duties and responsibilities of the manager or owner are as well and if they are being breached. And yes, if the smoke-free environment was the reason you leased the apartment and the basis of the bargain then you need to see what can be done.  You may have only the option to break your lease.  That depends on how the lease reads and the law in your area.  Good luck.


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