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  • smoke in unit because duct work is connected

    Greetings all,

    For almost a year now, I have been dealing with a smoker in the apartment below me. Every time our HVAC comes on, strong smoke blows into our apartment. It's honestly awful. Maintenance has made it known that the unit below us has duct work connected to ours and that's why we get that units smoke. A few months ago my girlfriend wrote a letter to management about it and they gave us the option to move into a new unit. The only issue is that we don't want to change units. We live in the first remodeled unit and moving to another one would cause us to sit through renovations in summer of 2014.

    My questions are:

    Is this against the law and is management required to fix this?

    Should I call the city and have an inspector come out?

    Should I get a lawyer?

  • #2
    Re: smoke in unit because duct work is connected

    I wish to inform you that landlord is responsible for managing units. Your state laws will govern your rights. In this if maintenance is required then you may enforce your rights through court. You can first send a written demand to management and if they refuse to perform maintenance then you may request court for specific enforcement of contract. You may contact city inspector for inspection to determine building code violations of if house is in uninhabitable condition. You may have a lawyer if you are personally not able to represent yourself.

    AFF

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: smoke in unit because duct work is connected

      Generally speaking unless no smoking is the law or in the lease, it is permissible.
      Due to a recent promotion, I should now be referred to as Major Obvious.

      I would not be trying to provide information and knowledge if I did not sympathize.

      Some days it is just not worth chewing through the restraints to face life.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: smoke in unit because duct work is connected

        Originally posted by Disagreeable View Post
        Generally speaking unless no smoking is the law or in the lease, it is permissible.
        I understand that. Do you think having our duct work connected is something they need to fix? Whether it's us living there or the next person, the smoke will keep blowing into the unit.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: smoke in unit because duct work is connected

          Unless your LL is paying to heat the units your ducts should not be connected, and even then it may well be a code violation.

          Smoke entering your unit is a violation of your right to quiet enjoyment. The problem here is the LL has offered you a fix and you've turned it down.

          (Merrill v Bosser, No. 05-4239 COCE 53 (Broward County Ct., June 29, 2005).)

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: smoke in unit because duct work is connected

            QUOTE=130smartchick;332441]Unless your LL is paying to heat the units your ducts should not be connected, and even then it may well be a code violation.

            Smoke entering your unit is a violation of your right to quiet enjoyment. The problem here is the LL has offered you a fix and you've turned it down.

            (Merrill v Bosser, No. 05-4239 COCE 53 (Broward County Ct., June 29, 2005).)[/QUOTE]

            Thank you for the information. The LL has offered a (temporary fix for us) but I believe they are violating building code. I am in the process of getting an Inspector out as well as a Housing Counselor. Hopefully I'll have leverage when management realizes they need to fix the problem for health reasons and to stay up to code.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: smoke in unit because duct work is connected

              OP has not provided their location. Case law from one county court in FL is not binding on the entire country.
              Due to a recent promotion, I should now be referred to as Major Obvious.

              I would not be trying to provide information and knowledge if I did not sympathize.

              Some days it is just not worth chewing through the restraints to face life.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: smoke in unit because duct work is connected

                Originally posted by Disagreeable View Post
                OP has not provided their location. Case law from one county court in CT is not binding on the entire country.
                Oakland County, Michigan

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: smoke in unit because duct work is connected

                  Your landlord, management company, or owner's association may be unaware that it is perfectly legal to require that an apartment building or condominium be smoke free. This can include private units, as well as outdoor areas such as patios and balconies. Consult an attorney before seeking a legal remedy. If nothing else has worked, don't be afraid to resort to a lawsuit.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: smoke in unit because duct work is connected

                    Here is a really long winded and wordy article basically concluding what you have already been advised. Take another apartment, the battle will not be easy.

                    Smoke-Free Environments Law Project
                    Due to a recent promotion, I should now be referred to as Major Obvious.

                    I would not be trying to provide information and knowledge if I did not sympathize.

                    Some days it is just not worth chewing through the restraints to face life.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: smoke in unit because duct work is connected

                      Thank you all for the advise. We have a city inspector coming on Monday the 14th so hopefully that will help us. I will keep you updated. If anyone has any other suggestions please feel free to leave them here.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: smoke in unit because duct work is connected

                        I am having somewhat of a similar situation in my unit, except for the smell of cooking fumes instead of smoke. Whenever the adjacent unit cooks the smell comes gushing in through my bathroom fan vent because both our bathrooms are back to back divided by a wall. Reason is management has decided to replace most units with older fan systems to newer, updated quieter models. The problem is whoever they hired to install the units decided to just yank out the old and shove in the new without properly connecting the tubes for ventilation, as a result bad air is channeled back inside and travels through the inner attic/ceiling and out to our unit. It gets worst when we use the AC or Heater since the air must be drawn in and out the the HVAC system making our whole apartment smelling like a restaurant.

                        The people that did the job lied about connecting the tubes which was never done in the first place. I filed a complaint to management and they came to rework the installation on both our and the adjacent unit claiming everything is connected this time but the smell still comes through. They came out the third time with the owner and as a result trying to point fingers saying I could of loosen it by removing part of the fan out for cleaning. B.S. as it is, what about the the unit next door? They are the culprit for blowing bad air into my apartment, supposed I went and cleaned their fan and disconnected their pipes too? Apparently these people didn't follow any rules as to know how to properly install the fans. It was a botched-up mickey-mouse job which they are trying to cover up.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: smoke in unit because duct work is connected

                          Originally posted by 80sGuy View Post
                          I am having somewhat of a similar situation in my unit, except for the smell of cooking fumes instead of smoke. Whenever the adjacent unit cooks the smell comes gushing in through my bathroom fan vent because both our bathrooms are back to back divided by a wall. Reason is management has decided to replace most units with older fan systems to newer, updated quieter models. The problem is whoever they hired to install the units decided to just yank out the old and shove in the new without properly connecting the tubes for ventilation, as a result bad air is channeled back inside and travels through the inner attic/ceiling and out to our unit. It gets worst when we use the AC or Heater since the air must be drawn in and out the the HVAC system making our whole apartment smelling like a restaurant.

                          The people that did the job lied about connecting the tubes which was never done in the first place. I filed a complaint to management and they came to rework the installation on both our and the adjacent unit claiming everything is connected this time but the smell still comes through. They came out the third time with the owner and as a result trying to point fingers saying I could of loosen it by removing part of the fan out for cleaning. B.S. as it is, what about the the unit next door? They are the culprit for blowing bad air into my apartment, supposed I went and cleaned their fan and disconnected their pipes too? Apparently these people didn't follow any rules as to know how to properly install the fans. It was a botched-up mickey-mouse job which they are trying to cover up.
                          That is a messed up situation. I don't get why these management companies aren't willing to do the right thing instead of covering things up and hoping tenants won't notice.

                          My situation is ongoing. I am currently trying to do air quality tests to prove that we are living in an unhealthy environment. I know it has to be bad because they say any second hand smoke in the air is too much. When our HVAC kicks on it smells like someone is smoking right next to you.

                          Also, Management has this misconception that it is illegal to deem a building non smoking. Does anyone know why so many landlords and lease management companies believe this myth?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: smoke in unit because duct work is connected

                            Because they don't want to spend money on fixing mistakes from vendors they hired to do the job - that would not admit and warrant their shady work. I wrote to them and said if the situation is not resolved (under c.v.c code) then I would call the CA Housing Authority to have them come out to inspect the unit. One week later, they got another vendor and inspect/cut out sections of my restroom through the bedroom to reconnect/sealed all the pipes, including the adjacent unit. Now the fan louder and weaker due to the old rusted pipes. Channeling air out isn't as good compared to before but nevertheless it is slowly moving out instead of back in, or smell from the adjacent unit moving back into ours. So long as I don't have to smell other people's bbq fumes coming out through my vents when I turn on the AC in the summer time.

                            Originally posted by JetSet86 View Post
                            That is a messed up situation. I don't get why these management companies aren't willing to do the right thing instead of covering things up and hoping tenants won't notice.

                            My situation is ongoing. I am currently trying to do air quality tests to prove that we are living in an unhealthy environment. I know it has to be bad because they say any second hand smoke in the air is too much. When our HVAC kicks on it smells like someone is smoking right next to you.

                            Also, Management has this misconception that it is illegal to deem a building non smoking. Does anyone know why so many landlords and lease management companies believe this myth?

                            Comment

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