AgentRentals

Smoking tenants battle landlord

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

Question: I am a smoker living in a 12-unit building. The woman upstairs complains that my cigarette smoke is coming into her unit and exacerbating her asthma, so the landlord is talking about making the building nonsmoking. I've lived here 10 years, but I'm on a month-to-month lease. Can he do this? Tenants' attorney Kellman replies: The very long tenancy you have generally will not give you any extra rights over a short tenancy. As to the smoke, it is treated like any other intrusion into another person's space like noise or vibration. While smoking is a lawful activity, like playing a radio or practicing on the drums, it may be restricted when that activity substantially interferes with a neighboring tenant's use of his/her unit. Cigarette smoke is known to adversely affect health and when that smoke impacts a neighboring tenant with asthma, the landlord may be liable if he fails to act. Under fair housing laws, a landlord must make reasonable accommodations for disabled tenants...