Smoking Odors EASILY Management’s #1 Complaint
For some time now, reports of cigarette and marijuana odors invading neighboring units has been the top complaint investigated by our staff. They handily beat other complaints we get such as cooking odors, noise and loud parties. Even when you include maintenance issues such as leaks and construction noise, by the numbers all other complaints combined pale in comparison to smoking odors.
It is a sacred, if often unspoken truth, that what we do in our home is our own business. But in a high rise, what we do often becomes our neighbors business whether we intend it or not. What we eat, what music we listen too, the movie we’re watching, or yes – smoking. It becomes a problem when your neighbors can hear it or smell it. If your neighbor can hear your music clearly or get a buzz from whatever you are smoking, that’s now rightfully your neighbors business.
Smoking is allowed inside units. But residents in other units are protected, and allowed to live in a smoke free environment. To that end, smokers must prevent smoke from entering neighboring units. That could be as simple as keeping your windows closed, which when open can force odors into the hall and surrounding units. ALSO, smoking in the kitchen or bathroom (where you are in close proximity to exhaust vents) can help. If the office gets confirmed complaints, the offending resident will get notices from the office. After multiple complaints, if we continue to confirm reports of odor infiltration, such a resident may have no choice but smoke outside. By City Ordinance, the common areas must be smoke free, and consistent with the rules, such odors must not enter neighboring units.
This includes so called “medical marijuana”. While you may be able to purchase and use it lawfully, the Association’s Rules still prohibit it from becoming a problem for neighbors. Think of it this way, you may also get a prescription for Lithium – or any other drug for that matter. However, that does not mean your neighbors need to be forced to ingest it.
The Park Tower rules address this on Pages 28 of the PTCA Rules handbook, under ‘DISTURBANCES‘, “…residents agree not to disturb or interfere with the comforts, rights, safety and quite enjoyment of other residents. Disruptive activity shall not be carried out within any residential unit or in the common elements, which may be or become an annoyance or nuisance to the other owners or occupants…Examples of a disturbance include but are not limited to: cigarette smoke, cooking and other noxious odors.”
Cigarettes and marijuana are even more directly addressed in the rules on Page 39, Under ‘SMOKING‘ “The release of smoke and other toxic gases and particles from cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, marijuana, and other tobacco products used in an individual unit that permeates any other unit or the common elements is hereby classified as a noxious or offensive activity pursuant to Paragraph 11(g) of the Declaration.”
SO, you might be thinking “That’s Great! But what should I do if I am suffering from my neighbors cigarette smoke?”
During business hours, contact the office at 773-769-3250. When the office is closed, call the front desk at 773-769-3083. Staff will be directed to the location. They will attempt to confirm what is going on at your door and may ask to enter if the odor cannot be identified from the hallway. Whatever the conditions are at the time, our team will do their best to address the matter appropriately. Sometimes, they may be unable to verify the condition. Locating the source of cigarette smoke can be a challenge. And, cigarette smoke can dissipate by the time we are able to respond.
Whatever the condition we are addressing, trying to make a determination is always somewhat subjective. So we ask that residents and owners understand that, have patience and let us do our best to balance everyone’s right to live and function as individuals with everyone’s right to peaceably enjoy their homes. It can be a difficult balance. And especially with cigarette odors, it can be hard to trace and verify.
Marijuana complaints? We are not police – we will treat such complaints similar to reports of cigarette odors. However, you can also report such conditions to 911. Unfortunately, over the past couple years it has been our observation the authorities have become somewhat unresponsive to such complaints. And even when they arrive at the scene, and such odors are present, the police may do little more than bang on the door and warn the resident to stop.
Should you continue to experience smoking odors, and we are able to identify the source, generally after the third complaint the Unit Owner will receive a “Notice Of Violation” from the Association. The matter is heard before the Rules and Regulations Committee, and the Board may consider assessing the Unit Owner a fine. The first fine for such violations is typically $250. If the condition continues, it will escalate.
If you have any questions, or if you experience these types of problems, we want to help. Just give us a call at 773-769-3250 or send the office an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are reporting a problem after hours, call the front desk directly at 773-769-3083.