M.N. from St. John’s County, Florida writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
The neighbors in the unit under me smoke on their lanai. The smoke smell comes onto my balcony. If my sliders are open the smoke comes right into my living / dining room area as well. The Association says people have the right to smoke on their lanai. I have pointed out we have a rule that prohibits causing damage or injury and point out that second-hand smoke is a proven carcinogen. This is ignored. Do I have a legitimate complaint?
Mister Condo replies:
M.N., I am so sorry that you have such inconsiderate neighbors and that your Board doesn’t see that they have a duty to protect your enjoyment of your home. In my opinion, you certainly have a legitimate complaint and I encourage you to engage the services of an attorney to discuss bringing suit against your Board for not protecting you from the know damage caused by second-hand smoke. You asked nicely and they refused to act. It is time to escalate the complaint, in my opinion. No one has a “right” to smoke. It is not a protected liberty in the Constitution or Bill of Rights. Smoking is a nuisance in any high-density housing (HDH) arrangement and many places ban smoking for that very reason. I am not an attorney and offer no legal advice in this column but I do encourage you to seek counsel and take further action if advised. Not only will you be making your own unit safer and healthier but you will be helping all owners within your community to enjoy a smoke-free lifestyle. All the best!