I live in a condominium and the smoke from my neighbors’ cigarettes wafts into my unit through my open balcony window. Is there anything I can do?
Conflicts between smokers and non-smokers in shared living communities is a common source of friction. Just as with noise complaints, resolution of these disputes often must be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Unless your association amends its Declarations to ban smoking completely, your neighbor is in her right to smoke within the confines of her unit. That does not mean, however, that she may necessarily do so to the detriment of her neighbors.
Virtually all Declarations contain provisions which prohibit conduct which is deemed a nuisance or which may be considered noxious or offensive. The association’s Board can fine an owner if the directors determine that the smoke transmission emanating from the unit is more of a nuisance than it would be reasonable for one to expect to have to tolerate.
Of course, those terms can be subjective and may or may not be considered as applicable to the natural course of cigarette smoke from a unit into the surrounding air outside that unit. However, these provisions can be used to require a unit owner to make reasonable attempts to mitigate the effect of their smoking on others.
Such mitigation efforts might include the installation of special smoke exhaust systems or purifiers. They might also extend, in certain instances, to restricting smoking to certain areas of the unit so as to avoid emanation from particular windows.
To properly address your concerns, first familiarize yourself with the relevant provisions in your Declarations and, if applicable, Rules & Regulations. Bring your concerns to the Board. If there are other owners affected similarly, perhaps your association may wish to go so far as to amend its Declarations to completely ban smoking within the association.
For more specific counsel, call Erwin Law at 773-525-0153, or go to www.erwinlawfirm.com
THIS ERWINLAWANSWER IS DATED AS OF 04/30/2019 AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGES IN THE APPLICABLE LAWS, AS MAY OCCUR FROM TIME TO TIME. THE READER SHOULD KEEP THIS IN MIND AND SHOULD ALWAYS VERIFY THAT THIS ANSWER HAS NOT BEEN AFFECTED BY RECENT CHANGES IN THE LAW.