Smoker Stench


With the weather turning nice, we’ve been able to open the windows and the door to the balcony. And then we have to close it. Why, you ask? Someone near us is smoking and the stench is coming into our apartment.

I’ve lived with scaffolding, lived with horrid plumbing, lived with rodents (and I will share those stories) and now I’ve got to live with smoke? I mean, I’m shocked it’s taken this long for me to have this problem show up in apartment living.

The worst part is that it’s hindering my ability to sit outside on the balcony. Which is the BEST part of the apartment. We’ve been sleuthing and we thought it was coming from right below us. The smoke is new, so we figured we had new downstairs neighbors. After I sent a letter to the management company (see below), they were able to “confirm” our downstairs neighbors don’t smoke. That doesn’t mean the apartments next to them aren’t the smokers.

Here’s the correspondence thus far…

My email to the management company (not my first, but my first about this situation):


We have a neighbor, directly below us, who chooses to smoke throughout the evening on the balcony. We’re not sure if this is a new neighbor, or they have just recently taken up smoking, but it’s been a couple of weeks and it’s becoming a problem.

We can no longer leave the balcony door or even the windows open as the smell permeates the apartment.  Smoke rises, so it comes into our home. I can’t imagine  we’re going to want to sit on the balcony come warmer evenings because the smell is very unpleasant.

This upsets us because that’s the best feature of our apartment, and I’m sure we’re paying a premium for it, but I simply cannot take the smoke. If this continues throughout the summer, we’re also going to be paying a premium on the air conditioning because we won’t be able to enjoy the breeze off the water if it’s accompanied by the stench of smoke.

Short of going downstairs and making them aware of the situation (which can have several outcomes), as we plan to do this week, have you had any tenants encounter this problem before? We are forced to breathe in secondhand smoke, in the comfort of our own home, and short of shutting the door and windows, it still seeps in. And obviously being on our balcony is out of the question right now thanks to the toxins coming up from below.

Is there anything you can suggest as an option before we go to speak with him/her? Any suggestions you can provide thanks to previous experience you may have had would be appreciated.


Response from the management company:


We have experienced similar situations in the past but as [your building] is not a smoke-free environment it can be a little tricky.

That being said, sometimes people are responsive to complaints/requests to limit their smoking or to do it elsewhere but this is usually a problem we have with people smoking in their apartments and the odor permeating into the hallway or the apartment above or below through a bathroom vent.

In any case, I just spoke with your downstairs neighbor and neither his girlfriend nor he are smokers so the cigarette smoke must be coming from another balcony.

If you need further assistance from me please do not hesitate to ask.

My response:


I realize this is a very tricky situation. Even trickier, because we were convinced it was coming from straight below. Thanks for checking with the downstairs neighbor on our behalf.

Now I’m at a loss because the smoke is coming from somewhere. Maybe next to the apartment on either side, though I think there’s an empty apartment towards out right. Even so, that former tenant did smoke occasionally but the stench was not nearly as bothersome as it is now.

Will try and figure out who is smoking and reach out to you before we reach out to them.



That’s all the correspondence thus far. Am certain there will be more once I can pinpoint the offender(s). Now we’re (okay, it’s probably more me than the boyfriend but whatever) determined to figure it out. Our neighbors dogs pee in the elevator, they poop right outside the building and I can’t do anything about it (really, I have tried). I refuse to let someone ruin the best part of my apartment living in the spring and summer with their damn cigarette smoke. Yes, I realize it’s public property, but it’s making me breathe in secondhand smoke against my will. I cannot go anywhere to escape it because even inside I can smell it with the doors and windows closed. I like sleeping with the windows open. I like coming home and drinking wine on my balcony. I do not like being forced to breathe in secondhand smoke. It. Is. Gross.

But ironically the night I sent the letter was the first night I did not smell smoke. Fascinating. I’m sure this saga will continue because I want to enjoy my balcony! In the meantime, I’ll share some of my apartment woes in upcoming blog posts.


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