Tenant Rights And Cigarette Smoke

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					Tenant Rights And Cigarette Smoke
Renters in apartment dwellings can get irritated by other tenants who enjoy cigarettes. Another
occupant's smoke can creep into your residence through an open window or the air conditioning
system. Unfortunately, until the rental lease agreement makes it a requirement for the landlord to stop
such happenings, there is currently very little that is possible to do with regards to California law.
Local laws may change soon, but that doesn't assist those being put off by by smoke currently.
Even though a few cases have been submitted in California against landlords or other renters due to
the sharing of secondhand smoke, the legal answers are still unknown. Results submitted by the
California E.P.A. (Environmental Protection Agency) that connect someone else's smoking to a
variety of diseases, which include brain damage and pregnancy complications, may affect a law's
perspective of this situation, but that is yet to become clear. If you happen to be a renter thinking
about legal action against a property owner or renter for subjecting you to his second hand smoke,
due to the newness of the situation, you may need to consult a lawyer.
Renters Rights Against Their Property Management Company
Even though there is no law that prohibits smoking in private domiciles, all California property
managers owe a diversity of responsibilities to their renters, to include: The implied warranty of
habitability and the implied covenant of quiet peacefulness.
With regards to the implied warranty of habitability, a part of every single one of California rental lease
agreements, a property owner makes certain that the grounds are and will remain livable. Livability is
usually discovered by the owner's obedience with specific code obligations, such as providing
required heating and ventilation.
But, California judges have not determined that code obedience is the only deciding factor of whether
a break has happened. That way, it is conceivable that, when under specific situations, the judge
might rule that a renter's openness to secondhand smoke breaches the warranty of livability.
The implied covenant of quiet peacefulness champions the renter's use and peacefulness of the
grounds for the reasons outlined by the rental lease agreement. The property owner can breach the
implied covenant of quiet enjoyment by doing something or failing to do something, such as failing to
cease other renters from creating too much noise. The inquiry the courts would ask is whether the
other tenants smoking greatly affects the renters ability to enjoy of a specific part of the grounds. It is
unknown how a California judge would rule on this situation.
In the rest of the U.S., a few judges have permitted lawsuits to stand when a occupant's smoking is
severe enough, or made the property owner to extend to the renter a lessening in rent due to the
smoke. But, it is unknown whether a property owner would be responsible for the relocation costs of a
renter who decided to discontinue a renal lease agreement because of secondhand smoke problems.
Due to the fact that these outcomes were made by an out-of-state judges, the rulings are not
applicable in California and it is unclear how California judges would rule on the same evidence.
Renters Rights Against Their Neighbors
In California, a renter now has little if any legal rights opposing another tenant for exposing them
secondhand smoke. There is no legality that prohibits smoking in private domiciles, like the law that
prohibits smoking at work. That way, the tenant who smokes has not violated the law by smoking in
her apartment.
A occupant's smoking might not reach the legal requirement for a "nuisance" as determined by the
California judges. Even though California law outlines a nuisance as that which is dangerous to a
person's wel-being,... Or is not decent or irritating to the senses,... So as to meddle with the peaceful
happiness of life or property," judges also make it a requirement to that a plaintiff give proof that the
action is both "substantial" and "unreasonable."
Going by the present California case laws, a occupant's smoking might not be viewed as either
substantial or unreasonable, but it depends on the consistency, length of time and degree of
exposure. A judge might see the secondhand smoke challenges as just the renter's inability to live
together in the same building.
Rights of Physically Challenged Occupants
Renters with specific physiological disabilities might have other legal answers at their disposal to stop
drifting smoke from coming into their domiciles. Under state and local law, those with limitations are
enabled with feasible quarters and/or changes of guidelines from their property managers to make
sure that commensurate availability to and happiness of their living space.
To certify for these exceptions, the renter has to qualify for the legal explanation of "handicapped" or
"disabled," meaning that their circumstance "limits" (under California law) or greatly limits" (under
federal law) a substantial life ability."
Someone with a genuine lung situation may be considerably limited in her breathing. If a renter is
"handicapped" or "disabled" according to the legal definition, and openness to secondhand smoke is
stopping the renter from appreciating the property, the law makes it a requirement for a feasible living
space. The property owner might be made to stop smoking in joint areas of the property, if that is the
origination of the smoke, or let the tenant move to an alternate apartment, further from straying
smoke. Rather, the renter might be able to discontinue his/her rental lease agreement without being
penalized.
What Can a Property Owner Do to Halt Such Problems?
To not run into challenges caused by renter's smoking, property managers in California might:
Start a smoke-free rule by not allowing new occupants from lighting up;
Establish non-smoking parts of properties; or
Not allow smoking in all joint areas, such as stairs or garages.
Conclusion
If a renter in a property is put off by occupant's smoking, the legal answers are unclear. Property
owners have certain responsibilities to renters (implied warranty of habitability and implied covenant
of quiet enjoyment). These property owner-renter law guidelines may offer some reprieve for renters
depending on the seriousness and length of the openness to secondhand smoke. Due to the fact that
this is a recently discovered part of the law, it is unknown how a California judge would decide. If a
renter is physically challenged she might have other legal cures under state and local anti-
discrimination laws.
Rather, the apartment manager is allowed to stop smoking in an apartment. Or a local government
might establish an law putting limits on smoking in joint areas or stating that property managers have
the ability to create areas of the property smoke-free.
So, make positive you are clear as best you are able the parts of the building where smokers are
hanging out before you agree to your rental lease agreement.

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posted:6/30/2012
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