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Secondhand smoke and condo conflicts

Most condo owners in California genuinely want to get along well with their neighbors. This means that they understand the importance of courtesy in an environment where people share walls and common areas. In some situations, however, conflicts arise.

While the number of people who smoke has dropped over the years, many adults still use tobacco. As a result, secondhand smoke is an issue for many individuals. For some people, it is primarily an annoyance while others experience real health issues, including breathing problems. Unfortunately, the ventilation systems in some condominium buildings are not adequate for dealing with tobacco smoke. The smoke can enter into hallways and even other units, causing a persistent odor and health problems for residents.

When someone is affected by secondhand smoke in their condominium, it is generally a good idea to first approach the neighbor about the situation. The neighbor may be able to buy an air purifier or restrict smoking to certain areas to prevent contamination of areas outside the unit. Unfortunately, some people may be unwilling to apply with this reasonable request.

Condo owners have the option of turning to their condo board for help. The association may even have rules regarding secondhand smoke that can be enforced against the offending neighbor. Other residents may be experiencing issues with secondhand smoke. If this is the case, the condo board may decide to renovate ventilation systems to ensure clean air in all units and common areas.

If the condo board seems unwilling to address the issue, a person may benefit from speaking with an experienced homeowner dispute attorney. A lawyer may be able to research local secondhand smoke ordinances or perhaps even negotiate a settlement for damages, including medical bills or cleaning furniture or clothing contaminated by smoke.

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