Washington, DC

Photo by PoPville flickr user Bogotron

“Dear PoP,

I recently purchased a condo on the second floor of a small building. The owner of the unit below me smokes, and I can often smell his/her second-hand smoke in my unit. I think the smoke is coming in through either the bathroom or more likely, the area where I have my HVAC system.

The smoke bothers me, and I’m wondering what I can do about it. He/She isn’t smoking in a common area; he’s/she’s in their unit. Our by-laws have a general nuisance provision, but I don’t want to invoke that because he’s/she’s in their property, he’s/she’s lived there for 30 years, and I have a nuisance of my own in the form of a dog that barks when I leave my unit.

I’m wondering whether anyone has tried to seal off cracks in the likely sources of entry, either with insulating tape or silicone. Does this work? Is this pretty easy and something I can do myself? Or do I need to hire someone? How much will this cost? Any recommendations?”

Has anyone lived in a unit where a neighbor smoked? Is there anyway to seal up the apartment. I know someone who rented an apartment that had a no smoking clause but was explicitly told that a long time resident smoked and was allowed to because they were grandfathered in. When you buy a condo, or rent a new place – should it be disclosed if a resident smokes? I can see a slippery slope argument here…

So really two questions – anyway to mitigate the initial situation sent in by a reader? And on a side note – should it be mandatory to reveal if a unit contains a smoker in a condo? In a rental?t


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