6 Steps for Dealing with a Neighbor Who Smokes

What’s that smell? The neighbors are smoking inside…again. Every time, the smell floats up through your vents and open windows. The smell is bad at best but potentially unhealthy at worst. 


With your neighbors smoking in a non-smoking apartment, you can’t help but wonder: What can I do? Read on to learn why it’s important to deal with, how to talk to your neighbors, and how to report it to your apartment community if needed.


My Neighbors Smoking is Killing Me!


While that may sound like an exaggeration, it’s not necessarily untrue. Secondhand smoke exposure can be dangerous. According to the American Lung Association, secondhand smoke contains hundreds of chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic. Additionally, secondhand smoke causes approximately 7,330 deaths from lung cancer and 33,950 deaths from heart disease yearly. Secondhand smoke affects children, adults, and even pets. 


Health effects aside, the smell of smoke in your apartment can be frustrating. Your clothing and other belongings, such as furniture, can hold the smell for a long time. If it’s bad enough, the smell of smoke could impact your security deposit because your unit might smell when it comes time for you to move out.


Steps to Deal With Neighbors Smoking


When you’re tired of dealing with your neighbors smoking, what should you do? These steps can help you tackle the problem.


1. Check the apartment complex rules.


Before you address your neighbors directly, or report the problem to your apartment management company, check the complex rules. Are there designated smoking areas that you’re smelling? Do some units allow smoking? This information is likely in your move-in paperwork.


2. Talk to your neighbors.


If you determine that your neighbors are smoking where they shouldn’t, talking to them directly could be an effective way to address the problem. Stay polite and not accusatory. Simply explain that their smoking is impacting you and request that they utilize one of the designated areas. Keeping your tone friendly and helpful is important. There’s a chance that they don’t realize their smoking is affecting anyone else.


If you have experienced conflict with this neighbor in the past, they could become retaliatory, especially if you end up reporting it to the apartment complex. Use your best judgment to decide if they would receive criticism well or if it would cause further problems.


2. Talk to the apartment complex in person.


You may not feel comfortable directly talking to your neighbors, and that’s okay. There’s also a chance that talking to them doesn’t change anything. It could be best to go straight to your apartment complex to file a complaint.


When you reach out to your apartment complex, it is important once again to keep your statements objective and fact-based. Let the apartment complex know how the smoke is affecting you. Likely, they will take action because smoking indoors is a health and safety hazard to people and property.


3. Put your complaint in writing.


Put your complaint to the apartment complex in writing, as well. Send a follow-up email summarizing the conversation, including any next steps or actions that they promised. Having a paper trail will help you hold the complex accountable when you follow up, if necessary.


4. Can you call the police for neighbors smoking cigarettes?


If you don’t live in apartments that allow smoking, but your neighbors are smoking indoors anyway, it can be upsetting. However, calling the police is not the best option. The police will most likely not enforce your apartment complex’s rules on their behalf. Allow your apartment community management team to deal with the problem.


5. If the problem persists, keep in touch with your apartment community.


It can be aggravating if nothing changes. You may feel upset with your neighbors and your apartment complex as well.


Follow up with your apartment complex team, and escalate it to management if need be. This is especially important if they have promised to take certain actions and have not done so. Sometimes they are very busy and may have forgotten or just need another nudge.


6. Consider moving.


You may need to move if your neighbor continues to smoke indoors and your apartment complex isn’t helping or keeping up with their promises. 


If you like where you live, you could request to change units within your complex so as to get away from the problem neighbors. Alternatively, your apartment complex may allow you to break your lease without penalty and relocate entirely. While it may seem extreme, your health and comfort are important to prioritize!


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Sometimes, conflicts with neighbors simply can’t be solved. If a move is on the horizon, visit ApartmentSearch to find your new home. Explore new apartment communities that meet your budget, size, and amenities requirements with ApartmentSearch’s advanced algorithm. Find your new apartment today!