A landlord's duty to a tenant arises when the risk of harm is foreseeable.
The court decisions have involved cases dealing with inured parties' exposure to unreasonable risks of harm resulting from foreseeable activities occurring within the common areas of a landlord's premises, including criminal activity (such as assaults) and physical injury from negligence (such as snow removal).
Delivering a copy of the physician's letter and a highlighted copy of the relevant language in the lease or condominium agreement to the management or landlord is advisable.
It is important to emphasize with the condominium management or landlord that they have the authority to prohibit or restrict activities, including smoking, that take place in one dwelling and cause annoyance or health problems in another.
Such actions have been brought across the United States, sometimes leading to out-of-court settlements, other times to verdicts in favor of one of the parties.
This fact sheet describes the legal options available to the resident of an apartment or condominium that is exposed to secondhand smoke against their will.
Such prohibited activities typically involve producing offensive odors (such as by cooking) and creating loud noises (such as by playing loud music or having parties late at night).
It is logical to assume that the prohibition against interference with a neighbor's enjoyment of the premises includes smoking, particularly when the smoke seeps from the residence of one tenant or owner into that of another, causing discomfort or illness.
One of the first actions that the resident affected by a neighbor's smoke should take is to document the problem by recording the nature of the problem and any health effects suffered as a result.
The latter might include exacerbation of one's asthma, hay fever, heart disease, emphysema or other conditions worsened by exposure to secondhand smoke, including lesser problems such as sore throat or headache.