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  #1  
Old 05-17-2010, 04:08 AM
CanvasShoes CanvasShoes is offline
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What are legal ways to get rid of dreadful neighbors?

The old lady who is my downstairs neighbor smokes like a chimney. It seeps in through my fireplace (even through the shrink wrap) and makes it almost impossible to garden out on my balcony. Almost every time I go to plant anything, or water flowers or straighten up out on the balcony, there she is downstairs on her balcony spewing plumes of smoke stench all over my balcony area.

I don't know where she's smoking where this is happening, but smoke is also seeping up in the electrical outlets on the outerwalls and under the masterbath sink. So it's not entirely her fault, these places weren't built very well in that regard, apparently.

I'd take the manic-depressive former neighbor back any day. Yeah, she was a little unreliably crazy, but at least I could breathe on regular basis on my own balcony without choking and gagging.

Worse than the smoking issue is the way she treats her cat. It has long hair that is never groomed, which can cause severe skin issues. She leaves it outside a lot. They are from Arizona, so they're obviously used to warmer weather, but that doesn't seem to matter, the poor cat it out there even when it's night time and cold. I've let it into the garage before, just so it can be off the floor and in a warm area.

Isn't there some legal way I can make her stay there unpleasant enough that she'd move? She's only a renter, not the owner. Nothing nasty or hurtful, and ESPECIALLY nothing illegal, just something that will change her mind about living here. And I work a lot, so it has to be something that will work if only done in short shifts.
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  #2  
Old 05-17-2010, 04:37 AM
kidneyfailure kidneyfailure is offline
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Have you tried talking to her yet? Before you jump to the "force her out" stage, how about just saying that her smoke bothers you? If that doesn't work then you're SOL because she can do whatever she wants in her own house and you have no right to try and force her out of the place she pays money for.

As for the cat: that's none of your business. Leave it alone.
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Old 05-17-2010, 06:10 AM
VarlosZ VarlosZ is offline
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Yeah, talk to her. It's not impossible that some solution could be reached (it is unlikely, though).

After that? Pack up your stuff and move to a place where the lease forbids tenants to smoke (or, at least, where you know that none of your immediate neighbors will be smokers). I'm afraid this is it as far as options go, because your downstairs neighbor is in the right.

Regarding the cat: are you sure that the cat is actually locked out and not just a cat that likes to be outdoors a lot, cold be damned? If it is actually not able to come in from the cold, again, you can talk to her about it, but that's probably about it.

Last edited by VarlosZ; 05-17-2010 at 06:14 AM..
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Old 05-17-2010, 06:13 AM
Icarus Icarus is offline
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You could move - it's legal and you are rid of the dreadful neighbors.
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  #5  
Old 05-17-2010, 08:46 AM
madmonk28 madmonk28 is offline
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If they are violating the law you can constantly report them. My friend is going through this with the person who owns the rowhouse next to his. His neighbor has abandoned the property and drug users are living in it. He is trying to get the city to condemn the property so that it will go on the market and someone will buy it and fix it up. Houses on his block are going for about $70k less than other houses in the neighborhood. It's taken him more than a year, but he has the guy in a legal box now and the hammer is about to fall. I tell this story to give you an idea of what a bad neighbor is really like.

If your neighbor isn't allowed to smoke in your building, you might be able to make her life miserable, but I don't think your going to get much traction with the argument that you don't like the way they groom their cat.
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  #6  
Old 05-17-2010, 11:35 AM
Omar Little Omar Little is offline
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Originally Posted by Icarus View Post
You could move - it's legal and you are rid of the dreadful neighbors.
This is your best option.
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  #7  
Old 05-17-2010, 12:34 PM
Lust4Life Lust4Life is offline
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Are you sure that the problem is with her and not mental health issues of your own ?
I am an ex smoker and really do not like the smell of smoke now, but your post sounds a little unbelievable and a trifle bizarre.
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  #8  
Old 05-17-2010, 12:44 PM
overlyverbose overlyverbose is offline
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Another vote for talk to her or move. Or, you can talk to your landlord/property management company or move. Either way, I don't think there's a way you can legally make her stay unpleasant (at least not intentionally), nor should you. That seems a bit passive-aggressive, and she may not have any idea that she's causing you discomfort.

If you do talk to her, I'd try to provide an alternative location for her smoking. Somehow I don't think she'll quit smoking just because you find it annoying, and in my experience, if you're going to criticize someone or tell them to stop a behavior, it's easier to do if you can provide a constructive solution to the problem instead of telling them to cut it out (especially since she'll now be the only one who has to deal with negative consequences, such as nicotene withdrawal or going out of her way to find a different smoking location).
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Old 05-17-2010, 12:46 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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Seriously...no

Less seriously.

Take rumba lessons and practice at odd hours. Get into tap.

By a forty year old bed frame and mattress with bad springs. Have LOTS of loud sex.

Take ethnic cooking lessons from a cuisine the cooks a lot of tripe. Let the smells waft through the building.

When you see her coming, pull out your cell phone and pretend to be making drug deals. Later on, start switching to scared calls that make it sound like you've stiffed your supplier. Mention that its ok because you've told him you actually live in the apartment below yours.
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  #10  
Old 05-17-2010, 01:30 PM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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How about having a ventilator with you when you garden on your balcony, to ward off the smoke? Or how about liberally spraying Febreze everywhere?
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  #11  
Old 05-17-2010, 01:53 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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I hate smoke as much as anyone, but if she's legally allowed to smoke in her apartment, your best option really is moving. Trying to chase out a neighbour who isn't actually doing anything wrong is morally questionable.
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Old 05-17-2010, 02:06 PM
Knowed Out Knowed Out is offline
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Invite all your overweight friends over and have them practice clogging.
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Old 05-17-2010, 02:23 PM
sugar and spice sugar and spice is offline
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I would probably talk to the landlord first, to ask if they can try to seal up the ductwork or do other maintenance stuff to keep the smoke out of the your apartment. Make it about the building, not her, it will implicit that she smokes a lot and they can take it up with her if they want. If you do talk to her I would make it about small concessions like maybe not smoking right under your balcony when she's outside. Because yeah, she's not going to stop smoking if it's legal for her to do so, but she might be bothered to cover up a vent or move 15 feet to the other direction.

In then end, though, I would plan on moving. One of the luxuries about renting is that you can just move when you don't like the place anymore.

Last edited by sugar and spice; 05-17-2010 at 02:24 PM..
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  #14  
Old 05-17-2010, 02:41 PM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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You could seal up your apartment but it would be time consuming to pull all the baseboards and electrical outlets. Probably easier to move. Ask to get the next ground floor unit and see if the owner is willing to segregate smokers in the future.
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  #15  
Old 05-17-2010, 03:10 PM
Jet Jaguar Jet Jaguar is online now
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Well, you could find as many nitpicky things about the neighbor you can find and complain to the landlord about them constantly. I have a neighbor a few doors down that didn't like the fact we rented out a room in our house do something similar to me, constantly complaining to the HOA to try to force me to kick out the roommate. A single weed pops up in the lawn and I knew to expect an HOA violation notice in the mail the next day. (Still does it somewhat, even though the roommate is long gone, because he doesn't like me and just wants to be a dick.)

The danger with this strategy as a renter is that when your lease is up the landlord may think you are the PITA and not renew.
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  #16  
Old 05-18-2010, 12:14 AM
CanvasShoes CanvasShoes is offline
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Originally Posted by Icarus View Post
You could move - it's legal and you are rid of the dreadful neighbors.
Unfortunately, I'm an owner, she's a tenant. If I could move, I would. The owner's former tenants were a little weird, but smoke free.

Yes, the cat is left out when it's really cold, it meows all of the time.

And yes, I realize that she's smoking in her "own" place, the trouble is, her smoke doesn't STAY in her own place and no, there's no talking to her. She's a snot, and I know that from before I had any clue she smoked, when she was first moving in.

This is a condo unit and her balcony is directly under mine. And let me reiterate, in case the title wasn't clear enough, I am not the least interested in anything ILLEGAL. And yes, it is that bad to the poster that asked, I don't have some sort of weird ultra super-sonic nose.

Last edited by CanvasShoes; 05-18-2010 at 12:18 AM..
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  #17  
Old 05-18-2010, 12:41 AM
even sven even sven is offline
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She's not going to quit smoking just for you. It's legal, it's enjoyable, and it's an addiction. So I'm not sure what you expect her to do.
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  #18  
Old 05-18-2010, 12:50 AM
Peremensoe Peremensoe is offline
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It sounds like you may have purchased a condo in a building that wasn't built to modern fire codes, which require rated smoke/heat barriers between units.
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  #19  
Old 05-18-2010, 12:50 AM
CanvasShoes CanvasShoes is offline
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Originally Posted by even sven View Post
She's not going to quit smoking just for you. It's legal, it's enjoyable, and it's an addiction. So I'm not sure what you expect her to do.
I don't expect her to quit smoking or to "do" anything. You're not answering, in the slightest, the question I asked. That being the case, why waste your time popping in?

Last edited by CanvasShoes; 05-18-2010 at 12:50 AM..
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  #20  
Old 05-18-2010, 12:56 AM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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Prove to the landlord that the smoke travels into your condo by setting her apartment on fire.

Seriously, since you own the condo you can seal it up so at least it doesn't move through the walls. If you were renting it wouldn't be worth the effort but this is something you have equity in.
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  #21  
Old 05-18-2010, 01:17 AM
CanvasShoes CanvasShoes is offline
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Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
Prove to the landlord that the smoke travels into your condo by setting her apartment on fire.

Seriously, since you own the condo you can seal it up so at least it doesn't move through the walls. If you were renting it wouldn't be worth the effort but this is something you have equity in.
Heee, thanks for the laugh. No, it's obvious there's not a lot I can do. I was just hoping that someone might have a clever unusual solution. The lady is from the lower 48, from a very warm state, and I've gotten the impression that she's not here permanently anyway.

She was too cold to smoke out on the balcony this winter (I think, because she was smoking in the shared garage, thank goodness the association made her quit smoking in there!) , but now that it's summer, she's out on the balcony all the damned time. Like I said, hers is directly under mine, so I guess I won't be using my own balcony much this year. With luck, the economy will improve enough so that I can sell it (my condo, not my balcony ).

And yes, I sealed the outlets in the bedroom, I guess I'll do the ones in the living room too, anyone have any idea how to safely (and temporarily) seal up a gas fireplace?
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  #22  
Old 05-18-2010, 02:28 AM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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Originally Posted by CanvasShoes View Post
Heee, thanks for the laugh. No, it's obvious there's not a lot I can do. I was just hoping that someone might have a clever unusual solution. The lady is from the lower 48, from a very warm state, and I've gotten the impression that she's not here permanently anyway.

She was too cold to smoke out on the balcony this winter (I think, because she was smoking in the shared garage, thank goodness the association made her quit smoking in there!) , but now that it's summer, she's out on the balcony all the damned time. Like I said, hers is directly under mine, so I guess I won't be using my own balcony much this year. With luck, the economy will improve enough so that I can sell it (my condo, not my balcony ).

And yes, I sealed the outlets in the bedroom, I guess I'll do the ones in the living room too, anyone have any idea how to safely (and temporarily) seal up a gas fireplace?
I suspect it's the mantel around the fireplace that's leaking fumes from the wall. It's like the wood surrounding a door frame. It's used to cover the gap between fireplace and the wall for decorative purposes. There shouldn't be any leakage between your fire place chimney and hers.

Have you thought of setting up bird feeders on the balcony ledge so they face your condo while they're eating? I think the gravity of the situation will work in your favor.
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  #23  
Old 05-18-2010, 02:58 AM
OpalCat OpalCat is offline
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Water your plants a lot when she's smoking. Like so that she's got water running down splashing her balcony.
Play annoying music on your balcony every time she goes out there to smoke.
Oh, and have loud conversations about how disgusting it smells out there with your friends, when she's smoking. So she can hear you.
Be loud at night. Vacuum at 3am.
Get a pogo stick or a jump rope for exercise in the kitchen.
Collect dog poop that owners haven't scooped and relocate it near her balcony so the smell wafts in for her. (It will waft for you too, but you're already stenched out right?)
Burn microwave popcorn frequently and then place it next to all of your vents in the hopes that the smell will go down to her place.
Buy Dance Dance Revolution (video game) and play it late at night. Above her bedroom.
Sprinkle sugar near her doors and windows in the hopes of attracting an ant problem.
Or birdseed and hope for a pigeon infestation on her balcony.
Constantly knock on her door to ask to borrow things (cup of sugar?).
Talk about feeling unsafe based on rumors you've heard about nearby violence or harassment.
Report her for anything you can think of that is legitimate.
Have groups of friends congregate on your balcony while she is out there and engage in loud and highly offensive dialogue.
Is hers the bottom level unit? If so, have drunk friends vomit over your railing.
Fake activity in an annoying cult-like group that has frequent meetings at your place--bi-weekly meetings of a furries support group might be a good place to start!
Does she throw her butts on the ground? Collect them up and deposit them by her front door daily.
Overflow your bathtub so it leaks down into her apartment.



Not saying any of these are good ideas, just trying to give ideas as requested in the OP.

Last edited by OpalCat; 05-18-2010 at 03:00 AM..
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  #24  
Old 05-18-2010, 03:53 AM
Peremensoe Peremensoe is offline
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Before trying to sell, you should probably meet with a real estate lawyer and ask about your liability for a property that does not meet building codes (as would be revealed, for example, if there was a fire in the lower unit).
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  #25  
Old 05-18-2010, 08:20 AM
kambuckta kambuckta is offline
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Let me get this straight:

You live next door to a smoker who has a cat she doesn't groom all that frequently, and you classify her as a 'DREADFUL NEIGHBOUR'?

Oh, of course, she's a RENTER and doesn't own the property. My stupid.

Tell me again, what's your problem?
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  #26  
Old 05-18-2010, 09:45 AM
Balthisar Balthisar is offline
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Smoking: you could just get used to the smell. Sure, it's disgusting, but like anything (open sewers, anyone?) you eventually get to ignore it. It's not an instant death sentence, either.

Cat: Look up your locality's "animals at large" laws, or your condo association's rules. I used to trap the neighbor cats and take them to animal control, and it was perfectly legal for me to do so.
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  #27  
Old 05-18-2010, 09:58 AM
Hampshire Hampshire is offline
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Buy a smoke alarm and put it on your balcony. Once it starts going off all the time while you're not home and neighbors start to complain and the landlord asks about it say there is nothing you can do, it's the smoke coming up from downstairs and there is no way in hell you are getting rid of your smoke alarm for safety reasons.
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  #28  
Old 05-18-2010, 10:29 AM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
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CanvasShoes, I'm not seeing a lot of posts here that won't result in your probable eviction for deliberate harassment.
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  #29  
Old 05-18-2010, 10:52 AM
kayaker kayaker is offline
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OP: Are you wealthy? You could offer the neighbor some sort of lavish vacation (maybe a cruise?) all expenses paid, the only catch being she has to move after the vacation. Have your solicitor draw up paperwork.
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  #30  
Old 05-18-2010, 10:59 AM
Omar Little Omar Little is offline
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Originally Posted by CanvasShoes View Post
Unfortunately, I'm an owner, she's a tenant. If I could move, I would.
Sell your place and move.
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  #31  
Old 05-18-2010, 11:06 AM
even sven even sven is offline
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Originally Posted by CanvasShoes View Post
I don't expect her to quit smoking or to "do" anything. You're not answering, in the slightest, the question I asked. That being the case, why waste your time popping in?
I guess because running someone out of town because you find them mildly annoying doesn't really seem like something Jesus would do.
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  #32  
Old 05-18-2010, 11:33 AM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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I'm not sure that moving her off the balcony is really in your favor. It seems to me that it's preferable to have the smoke outside rather than seeping into your home, contaminating the drapes and upholstery.

There's really nothing you can do.
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  #33  
Old 05-18-2010, 11:59 AM
Bridget Burke Bridget Burke is offline
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Originally Posted by Balthisar View Post
Smoking: you could just get used to the smell. Sure, it's disgusting, but like anything (open sewers, anyone?) you eventually get to ignore it. It's not an instant death sentence, either.

Cat: Look up your locality's "animals at large" laws, or your condo association's rules. I used to trap the neighbor cats and take them to animal control, and it was perfectly legal for me to do so.
Yeah, and the cats were probably killed if their owners didn't retrieve them in time.
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  #34  
Old 05-18-2010, 12:21 PM
kopek kopek is offline
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Originally Posted by CanvasShoes View Post
Unfortunately, I'm an owner, she's a tenant. If I could move, I would. The owner's former tenants were a little weird, but smoke free.

.
Owning doesn't prevent you from moving. It may make it a little tougher but it doesn't rule it out. Given how this bothers you (and very much appreciating that you aren't looking to create laws) selling this unit and buying one in an already more smoker restrictive one could be an option. Until some visitor to that complex stands below your window smoking ------- but that's another problem.

Does the tenant bother anyone else? Would it be possible for you or you and a group of others to purchase that unit? Owning it would give you some control over who lives there and what they do. My cousin had several bad neighbors in a row so he purchased the house and became the landlord. Since then he has had two tenants (one another cousin and another a friend from work) and no issues at all.
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  #35  
Old 05-18-2010, 12:41 PM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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Owning doesn't prevent you from moving. It may make it a little tougher but it doesn't rule it out. Given how this bothers you (and very much appreciating that you aren't looking to create laws)
LOL! That;s one great typo right there. LAWD KNOWS we got all the lawmakers we need in this world! ! !

I can totally see how moving out would be impossible for a great many homeowners in this economy.

As to the OP, I realize you probably expected a bit of sympathy and light humour. Just try to rememebr, that given current events, it's a little tough for us to gang up against anyone with the good taste to leave Arizona.
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  #36  
Old 05-18-2010, 01:59 PM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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You could give the cat the Fatal Attraction treatment.
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Old 05-18-2010, 05:04 PM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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You could give the cat the Fatal Attraction treatment.
What?
Canvas Shoes should sit in front of the cat, & cross/uncross his/her legs?

Last edited by Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor; 05-18-2010 at 05:05 PM..
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  #38  
Old 05-18-2010, 05:32 PM
Abby_Emma_Sasha Abby_Emma_Sasha is offline
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Originally Posted by Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor View Post
What?
Canvas Shoes should sit in front of the cat, & cross/uncross his/her legs?
No, no... that would be the Basic Instinct treatment. However, the cat may enjoy it.
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  #39  
Old 05-18-2010, 05:34 PM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
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Originally Posted by kopek View Post
Owning doesn't prevent you from moving. It may make it a little tougher but it doesn't rule it out. Given how this bothers you (and very much appreciating that you aren't looking to create laws) selling this unit and buying one in an already more smoker restrictive one could be an option. Until some visitor to that complex stands below your window smoking ------- but that's another problem..
This.

And the OP doesnt even need to SELL his unit. Just rent it out to someone else who doesnt mind living above a smoker and the OP can move/rent at some other place that doesnt have smokers. If the OP dislikes smoke so much he shouldnt have rented to one.

IMO besides a few reasonable requests to the smoker and some possible fixes to the property, most other suggestions here are at best being an asshole and at worst likely to get the OP in trouble.
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  #40  
Old 05-18-2010, 05:34 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Since you're an owner and she's a tenant, I'd say your first stop is the condo board. They might do nothing, but they might have some power to get her to stop smoking in the unit. Probably not, but it's worth a shot - if condo boards can micro-manage every detail of the condo living experience, they can use that power for good once in a while.
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  #41  
Old 05-18-2010, 09:49 PM
Balthisar Balthisar is offline
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Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
Buy a smoke alarm and put it on your balcony.
Smoke alarms don't go off due to tobacco smoke.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bridget Burke View Post
Yeah, and the cats were probably killed if their owners didn't retrieve them in time.
Well, that's the owner's problem. If they were responsible in the first place and observed the animals-at-large law, they'd not have a problem. If they were decent animals in the first place, you can assuage yourself by imagining that they were adopted or rescued by a rescue organization.
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  #42  
Old 05-19-2010, 09:49 AM
Lust4Life Lust4Life is offline
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The bit I don't understand is the smoke rising up electrical conduits, through the walls, under the bath etc.

It sounds more like a forest fire then the smoke produced by even the heaviest of smokers, both for the amount and the penetration.

You should certainly sue the builders/the people who sold you the apartment at the very least because it sonds as though its more like a wire cage then an apartment.
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  #43  
Old 05-19-2010, 02:22 PM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
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Report the kitty neglect to Animal Control. They may or may not do anything about it but at least you'll have tried to help the neglected cat.

Re the smoke: Notify the condo board, and also notify the landlord of the problem. The landlord can opt not to renew the woman's lease if they feel like it. The condo board might (and that's a big "might", they quite likely won't want to do a damn thing) opt to send a nastygram to the owner saying "interfering with other residents' peaceful enjoyment" etc.
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  #44  
Old 05-19-2010, 02:41 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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Hell, run for condo board. That way you get to boss all your neighbors around.
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  #45  
Old 05-19-2010, 04:02 PM
SmellMyWort SmellMyWort is offline
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I once lived in an apt complex and across the courtyard there was a resident who smoked, and the person living above them had one of those air purifiers set up. Maybe something like that or a large fan that could be angled away from the building would help. Other than that I'd focus on sealing up your own unit as well as possible, which it sounds like you've already started. You might also contact the owner of the smoker's unit and let them know about the problem and indicate that if the amount of smoke coming up into your unit is any indication, their place will be a complete stinky mess when the smoker moves out. That might motivate them to do something about the renter. I'd also check your condo rules about renting an animals, and complain if any of those are being broken. Don't be afraid to call out the board at the next meeting if they don't do anything. In my experience that might be the only way to get any action.

Watering the plants is also a good idea...but first I'd actually try and talk to this person and see if you can't work out some sort of compromise.
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  #46  
Old 05-19-2010, 04:39 PM
Hal Briston Hal Briston is offline
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Originally Posted by billfish678 View Post
If the OP dislikes smoke so much he shouldnt have rented to one.
The OP owns his unit, not the one being rented by the offending neighbor (see lines such as "The owner's former tenants...").
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  #47  
Old 05-19-2010, 06:22 PM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hal Briston View Post
The OP owns his unit, not the one being rented by the offending neighbor (see lines such as "The owner's former tenants...").
Fair and true enough.

Then he shoulda just moved/bought into a smoke free complex then

My main point still stands. MOVE.
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  #48  
Old 05-19-2010, 06:28 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dangerosa View Post
Hell, run for condo board. That way you get to boss all your neighbors around.
That's actually a good idea - my father-in-law is just finishing up a stint as president of his condo board, and he was able to get a lot of things done the way he wanted them during that time. There usually aren't enough people wanting to run on the board.
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Old 05-19-2010, 07:23 PM
Happy Poster Happy Poster is offline
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How on earth can cigarette smoke filter through electrical sockets? That doesn't make sense to me unless your block of flats is built out of cardboard.

Is it at all possible there's something more serious going on? I can't think of any sensible suggestion for what it could be mind. Very odd electrical fault?

Last edited by Happy Poster; 05-19-2010 at 07:24 PM..
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  #50  
Old 05-19-2010, 07:43 PM
OpalCat OpalCat is offline
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I assume it's coming up through the walls and the electrical sockets are just the entry point. I've had ants come in through electrical sockets before.
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