M.F. from California writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I live in Glendale, CA. There is a person (‘a room-mate’) as she says who takes care of a bed-bound person. The kitchen curtain is always open which is directly across from my 2nd bedroom and she spends her day outside on the walkway smoking. I have asked her to NOT smoke outside my windows but it seems as if every time I open my door there she is. The board has done nothing and the smell from the unit smells like feces. I am thinking of moving as I cannot take her much longer. Suggestions would be appreciated.
Mister Condo replies:
M.F., you are right to consider moving as the legal solution could take years to implement, if it can even be implemented. I am sorry for your situation and I know many others who feel as you do about foul-smelling odors (second hand cigarette, cigar, pipe, marijuana smoke, feces, spicy cooking, and so on). The reality is that the solution is as simple as the Board enforcing the association’s forbiddance of “Nuisance” as it applies to odors. However, most governing documents are vague on what “nuisance” is so enforcing the nuisance provisions are tricky at best. Have you complained to the Board? Have you claimed that the unit owner is breaking the rules by allowing these foul odors to penetrate your unit? That is your first step. If the Board agrees, they make steps to correct the situation. However, you can’t expect instant results which is why I suggested that you may be correct in thinking of moving instead of waiting for all of this to happen. If the Board acts against the unit owner, they may push back and a lawsuit may ensue. This is expensive for both parties and could take a great deal of time to settle. If it were me and I found the odors as foul as you claim they are, I would sell and move out. There are always better communities to move into where you won’t have to deal with the problems this infirmed unit owner is creating. All the best!