Legal Options for Tenants Suffering from Drifting Tobacco Smoke

Legal Options for Tenants Suffering from Drifting Tobacco Smoke

If tobacco smoke drifts into your apartment from a neighboring unit, causing you illness or discomfort, you may wonder whether you can take legal action. Suing your neighbor or landlord is an option, but it should be your last resort. Lawsuits are time consuming, expensive, and contentious, and the outcome is always uncertain. In a lawsuit regarding drifting tobacco smoke in an apartment building, the result is especially unpredictable because very few cases, and no state laws, are directly relevant.

Before suing, you should try to reach an agreement with your neighbor to limit where and when s/he smokes. You also could ask your landlord or property manager to make certain areas of the building smokefree. In addition, you could work to pass a law in your community to address the problem of drifting smoke in multi-unit residences. If these approaches fail, you may even want to consider moving.

If you reach the point where a lawsuit seems to be your only option, this fact sheet outlines several things to consider. It includes a glossary of legal claims.