J.P. from California writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
(Preface to story: Marijuana use is legal in CA.) I am a single 40s woman living on 2nd floor of one of the many condo units in our community of 400. My downstairs neighbors are two 40s men who are cordial and generally quiet enough but we don’t know each other well or even by name. One or both of them (unknown) are what I would call *excessive* marijuana smokers in that they are smoking large quantities of pot daily to the point my entire 2 BR place reeks of weed top to bottom. I have not said a word about this yet to them or the HOA, trying to quietly tolerate it. I’m at the breaking point now after about a year or so of tolerating: i) stench/smell permeating my entire living space and at its worst in the bathroom where I go to get clean; ii) smoky, dry air quality affecting my nose and skin; iii) excessive wear and tear on my hallway smoke detector batteries lasting only 2-3 months; iv) reduced ability to sell/move due to realtors and buyers being put off, plus potentially needing to disclose their habits. (Not to mention the horrendous snoring I can hear following each session.) What is the best course of action here? I am absolutely furious about it but I’m calm enough to talk still, maybe it’s all the marijuana I’m inhaling. Should I put it in writing and ask them to stop and explain how it affects my quality of life? Ask them to try edibles instead of smoking? Should I cc: the HOA? Knock on their door and talk? Both? Write the HOA a letter? Pose the question to my Neighborhood website group and hope they see it? If I start with a conversation/letter and nothing changes, where would you go from there (as an idea roadmap)?
Mister Condo replies:
J.P., I can’t imagine tolerating this situation for so long. You have the right to peaceable enjoyment of your unit and that includes decent interior air quality. Yes, you should write to the Board and ask them t intervene. Unless you are particularly cordial with the offensive neighbors, I don’t recommend speaking with them. Neighbor versus neighbor conflicts rarely end well. You should also contact a local attorney to see if you have any legal recourse against either your neighbors (unlikely) or the association to make sure your rights are protected. While you may have a problem selling this unit, it might also be a dream come true for a marijuana smoker or cigarette smoker. If you wish to sell your unit, I would encourage you to list the property as a smoker’s paradise. The odor you describe is not likely going to go away any time soon. Why not encourage a smoker to purchase your property? All the best!