Tenant Smoking Issues

July 23rd, 2010 · 154 Comments · Property Management, Rental Property, Tenant Resources

I got a tenant question yesterday about an important issue. Smoking in apartments is a problem for both landlords and tenants alike. The situation gets worse when tenants smoke pot. The reek of marijuana smoke hangs in the halls.

When I moved in the landlord told me no one smoked here. Now that I’ve moved in the people downstairs smoke and it comes up the vents. My roommate has asthma and it smells so bad. I looked and it’s not in my lease though. I talked to the landlord and he has talked to the people downstairs but they don’t smoke. I live in Calgary, Alberta. There is a smoking bylaw here but it doesn’t include on ones own home. What do I do????

Smokers Rights

A smoker has the right to smoke in their apartment. In Ontario there have been no successful cases that evict a tenant for smoking, even when non smoking is in the lease.

Non-Smokers Rights

Non smokers have the right to not smoke in their place. Every resident should have the right to not be invaded by smoke and fish, curry, cabbage and other offensive smells. Even cleaning products can be a problem! One landlord I know had to go to hospital when her tenants used Lysol to clean their place. She’s highly allergic to it.

Air Quality Issues in Multi-Res

When most rental buildings were built, the population of those buildings was pretty uniform. Smoking was allowed everywhere. The cultural diversity was minimal. Vents from each apartment join on each floor then vent to a central stack on the roof. Depending on the size of the high rise there may be fans on the roof to help this process. When it’s windy or the fans don’t work properly the air can blow back into each apartment after combining. This doesn’t happen all the time. The hallways are not vented at all so any rotten smell lingers. When they built these buildings no one gave it a thought.

New buildings have pressurized hallways and stairwells. Air is pushed into the common areas and air flows from common areas into the apartment. This keeps any revolting smells people make in their apartment.

Air Quality Issues in Houses

Houses with forced air furnaces have vents that efficiently distribute any smell from second suites throughout the house. I once had tenants who smoked pot in my own house. There’s nothing more thrilling than to come home to the smell of marijuana after a long day’s work then having to go talk to your completely stoned tenant.

Smokers Don’t Smell Their Own Stink!

People who smoke can’t smell that they stink. They can’t smell it on themselves or while they are smoking it. This is true of both marijuana and tobacco. This is why when you aren’t home they think they can have a smoke under their stove hood or bath fan and no one can smell it. They are wrong. When it’s 40 below outside it’s no fun to smoke in the cold when your landlord or fellow tenants aren’t even home. Surely no one will notice!

The Law

The smoker has the right to smoke. You have the right to not smoke. Those rights are equal. The government is not going to start evicting people because they smoke any time soon even if non-smoking is part of the lease. Why? It’s a slippery slope from cigarette stink to other offensive odours. They just don’t want to go there! Then you have the problem of where are all the smokers going to live? They can’t all be kicked out of their buildings and live on the street!

What Landlords Think About Smokers

We’d rather not have them. Smokers ruin paint, stink up the halls and the odd time cause fires. It we have a choice between a smoker and a non smoker we’ll go with the non-smoker. We can’t do a damn thing about smoking in our buildings so we just leave it alone. Pot smoking is the same. I’ve actually personally knocked on doors and told people to smoke their joint on the balcony and not stink up the halls. I’ve never enjoyed explaining to the complaining residents what “that horrible smell is”.

What Should I Do?

My advice is to find an apartment in a house where the owner lives. This means you’ll have to get along with your landlord. These landlords are not professionals as a general rule so you’ll have a much more informal relationship. It’s a pretty fair bet that your landlord won’t start smoking. If you rent in a house with other tenants and they don’t smoke when they move the new people might and then you have to move again. Your landlord can do nothing except talk to penalize the smokers.

The other option is to rent in a new building that has air quality measures installed. This will obviously cost more.

Those are my helpful hints for people trying to avoid smoke. Landlords cannot kick out smokers even if they signed a lease in Ontario anyways.

Happy Non Smoking!

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154 Comments so far ↓

  • JW

    I heard recently that there were efforts to set-up non-smoking buildings in Toronto but that they didn’t go anywhere — there is no legal recourse against smokers even if it is written in the lease that smoking is prohibited.

    We have had related problems in the past (very allergic to cigarette smoke and pet dander) and once made the mistake of living on the top floor of a 60s-era high-rise in Toronto. The exhaust fans on the roof were sub-standard and all of the cigarette smoke, cooking grease, and pet dander from apartments all the way down the building ended up in our unit.

    We ended up moving out after about two months and camped out in friends’ basements for a while. The management company (large and well-known in Toronto) was not forthcoming and we needed a doctor’s note about acute asthmatic reactions to get out of the lease.

    The solution for us was to move to a unit in a duplex — not owner-occupied, but the owner was very selective about his tenants. Even still, the downstairs tenant took up smoking for a while — he didn’t smoke in the apartment, but graciously went outside and smoked on the back steps (right underneath our bedroom window).

    Even the house we rent isn’t perfect — the neighbours are chain-smokers and the high density of the neighbourhood has their living-room window just a few feet from ours. You can’t win!

    The solution for people who are allergic to smoke or asthmatic is probably just to avoid multi-unit buildings altogether, or to buy — preferably somewhere with either a lot of space or a lot of shrubbery between houses.

    • Al

      “The solution for people who are allergic to smoke or asthmatic is probably just to avoid multi-unit buildings altogether, or to buy” – nice if you can afford it. Not so easy in places with low vacancy rates and high rents. And although this site is primarily about rental properties, people run into this same problem with condos as well and it’s not so easy to move. And why should I be forced to give up my home because a neighbor is addicted to pot and can’t wait to smoke it at all hours? I’m sorry, “just move” is not a realistic solution.

      • joe

        How about you stop being a bitch! I have asthma and have almost every environmental allergy you can name and I still live a breathe everyday without whining every time someone smokes or has a pet near me. Everybody has to stop trying to control other people. If you don;t like something move, unfortunately for you it is not everyone elses responsibility to ensure you are comfortable, it your own!!!

        • Steve

          How about you, “joe” stop being an asshole and likely a lying asshole as well? See, it’s not nice to call people names and hide behind the internet.
          So, just how much knowledge about what real allergy, or asthma do you have? As in, how many times you had to be hospitalized with severe reactions, or had cases where you were suffocating without medication?

          Many people have allergies and exposed to elements, but don’t even try to start saying that you can comfortably live in a place, where you neighbors are constantly smoking and smoke is penetrating your apartment. How about raising children in such environment?

          Non-smokers have the right not to smoke and not to be exposed to smoke. If landlord is unable to satisfy this requirement then people with shared air ventilation system should not be smoking. If they do, they must leave. Your rights END where my rights begin.

          • Rachelle

            There is no right to “not be exposed to smoke” nor do landlords have the right to evict tenants who smoke regardless of if they have a non smoking clause in their lease. If the law changes, it changes but that is the way it goes.

        • Joe Blow

          @Joe.. How about stop being such a fucking retard and learn to stop and think before you try and string together a paragraph. As a matter of fact you only talk the way you do because you have probably never owned a property, or this issue hasn’t deeply affected you on a personal level. You’re probably the guy who is the pothead, and you’re pretending to be an asthma sufferer. Your comments make no sense whatsoever. People like you actually hurt my eyes when I attempt to read your stupid comments. Get a real job, and learn that pot was a drug that you experimented with in high school.

        • Bernie

          You’re funny, calling someone else a bitch when yr the biggest bitch there is. I don’t believe that you have allergies at all. You sound like an irresponsible smoker to me who doesn’t want anyone stopping him – and you should definitely be stopped.

        • Bite Me

          Why not learn to respect women, you lying jerk?

          Yeah, you have asthma and smoking doesn’t bother you. Grow a brain, pr$ck

        • cathy ;petersen

          How about YOU stop being a bitch! I live above a smoker and it is so bad I have to move. She goes in and out of her balcony a million times a day. It’s not fair to me.

        • Anna

          I have congenital heart disease and my surgeon cannot perform open heart surgery on me unless I am completely smoke free for 3 months minimum but my downstairs neighbour keeps smoking inside because it’s minus 20 outside and he’s too cold to go outside so instead his smoke and tar and chemicals all come into my apartment through vents and walls and my surgeon keeps post-poning my surgery until I either pass out or go into heart failure and have to go to emerge in which case they would then perform the surgery against all risks.

          • Rachelle

            Anna, I don’t believe that your surgeon won’t do heart surgery on you because your downstairs neighbor smokes. That’s silly.

        • Offended

          Hey Dickhead,
          First off don’t call people bitches because you don’t like what they have to say.
          When you have something constructive to contribute to the conversation then by all means please join in…
          Until then. keep your negative, rude and uneducated comments to yourself!!!!

      • sunny

        My mom gets severe nose bleeds from the tenant above us smoking weed. it goes into the vents and comes into our part of the house. our question is not about cigarettes but weed. We have told the landlord and he said he cant do nothing. Now i want to know can he eveict the tenant for smoking weed in the house?

        • Rachelle

          Probably not.

          • Adriana

            I do not understand your contribution to commenting. Thanks for your opinion but try to contribute something of a value.

            For starters there is no such thing as a ‘right to smoke’. The person who wrote this article did not do due diligence and whilst it is possible that the smoker might not be evicted this does not relive the landlord of a duty to provide a non-smoking tenant with a smoke-free premises, which could mean special walls, isolation etc. We are taking of tens of thousands of dollars so you get to keep your smoking tenant.

            If a tenants gives you a note, and more than on one occasion that smoke penetrates the unit, you basically are not providing enjoyment of the unit and will automatically lose.

            Not to mention karma but this is up to you how you want to treat your fellow humans and people who are paying you money so you can be in business.

            So conclusion: your tenant WILL win against you both in T6 and T2 if you do not address the smoking problem.

          • Rachelle

            There is such thing as a right for an individual to smoke of their own choosing in their own house. They are adults, tobacco is legal and they are at home. It’s even legal for them to smoke pot.

            You may not work both sides of the fence, it is ludicrous to say that the landlord cannot evict the smoker and also say that they must provide an entirely smoke free life to non smokers in the building.

            The tenant must not just provide a note, they must prove that smoke entered their unit. The landlord must then prove when and where with times and date when smoke entered the unit.

            It’s almost impossible, and a well defended T-6 and T-2 will fail. I’ve seen much more concrete examples of tenant against tenant fail. It isn’t the landlord’s fault that other tenants smoke.

    • Dd

      If” you have considerate neighbors, {if you dont get them a box of sees candy on christmas or the next available holiday} they will probably think of you, when it comes to smoke….
      Most people dont want a war, Why start one. Figure out a solution, you might be surprised, to find that a lot of smokers, dont want the smell lingering either. I just got off the phone, with my mother in law, the neighbor smokes pot & its intruding. She may have started a war, by telling him HE CANT” & yes he can. & Does!. I suggested she go over nicely, agree that its his Right” But it comes inside the house & it makes her ugggg. Others have rights to cook a batch of rotten sardines, with a cup full of curry, over a broccoli mash, & you may not like it, but this is the way it is. Their is a solution, but i would HIGHELY Suggest, you Not Call the Neighbor & start telling him or her what they cant do.
      Instead, agree with their rights, & see if you can gently ask them? if they can smoke elsewhere as its coming into your home. p.s. Remember the sees candy.

      • Del

        What if the landlord wont let you out of your lease from other tenants smoke in the 4 unit i have one across from me and one above me that smoke all day it comes in my house and i have asthma i had my esophagus widen and now it is closing from the smokers also eating problems

        • Rachelle

          Why did you rent the unit in that case? Give your notice as soon as you can or tell the landlord that the smoke is making you ill. Bring some proof like Dr’s note.

    • Smoker

      Get a life !!

      • nonsmoky

        Sounds like yours may be limited. Smoke kills just ask a doctor. I have a lung disease and a reasonable accommodation where people are not supposed to smoke around me. I need to get the woman above me evicted–this is in usa but I will be able to do it. Lawyers work wonders when they are on your side!

        • Rachelle

          Have you considered that movers are a lot cheaper than lawyers? Just saying

          • Adriana

            Rachelle, have you considered visiting a mental health specialist? Just mention that you are a psychopath and that you hate your fellow humans. The best part, you will die of lung cancer as people like you ALWAYS deserve the dish they serve to the others.

          • Rachelle

            Entitled much? I think I will die of lung cancer just to suit you. I’ll send you pictures every day as I wither away into a skeleton with my husband and eight year old beside me. Asshole.

          • Doreen

            Rachelle, I own my condo, I do not have to move if the losers who rent the condo next to me smoke pot! I have the right not to smell pot in my home! They are the ones who should move, they bring down the value of the building. Apart from that, they are just very stupid people, a lot like you!

          • Rachelle

            Lets assume your neighbor has cancer and smokes medical marijuana to fight the nausea caused by chemotherapy. It is perfectly legal for them to smoke in their home, or anywhere, even in a hospital, bar. Anywhere. There is no right to smell bad smells. That is not a right. If you sue your building to prevent the smells and certain people have done this…it will cause even more problems because you and your building will both have to pay your legal costs. Fun times, you’re a genius.

          • Cosbert


          • Rachelle

            I thought we were discussing that it’s hard to evict someone who is smoking in their home because they are allowed. Also we are talking about the Landlord & Tenant Board, not the Court of God’s Wrath.

      • Bernie

        We nonsmokers HAVE lives. Its you loser smokers who are stupid enough to commit suicide with those cancer sticks and try to take everyone else with you that don’t have lives.

      • Bite Me

        We do – long ones – cough up tar on your own dime, you lazy, stupid, inconsiderate arse.

  • Jessica

    Smoking is a documented and recognized health hazard, particularly over extended periods. The fact is, the smoke travels through vents, or even walls, and can expose those in neighbouring units to unwanted toxic fumes. The rules around it should more closely approximate the rules around releasing poison gases, not, as the author suggest “curry” or “other unwanted smells”. It’s a health issue, not a preference. The law unduly protects tenants against legitimate claims.

    • Rachelle


      Lets get real here, smoke is not like a demon from the underworld, it doesn’t go through walls, nor it it a poison gas. In any case it’s still legal to smoke in Canada regardless of the health effects and the landlord cannot do anything about it. Sue the other tenant directly. It’s not the landlord’s fault, he’s not smoking the cigarettes, and he didn’t create the laws that protect the rights of the other tenant to smoke in their house even if they sign a non smoking lease. NOT. OUR. FAULT.

      • Erika

        Lets get real here. Cigarette smoke is indeed a ‘poison gas’. A quick Google search led me to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention webpage.
        “Tobacco smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds are toxic. About 70 can cause cancer.

        Here are some of the chemicals:

        Cancer-Causing Chemicals
        Formaldehyde: Used to embalm dead bodies
        Benzene: Found in gasoline
        Polonium 210: Radioactive and very toxic
        Vinyl chloride: Used to make pipes

        Toxic Metals
        Chromium: Used to make steel
        Arsenic: Used in pesticides
        Lead: Once used in paint
        Cadmium: Used to make batteries

        Poison Gases
        Carbon monoxide: Found in car exhausts
        Hydrogen cyanide: Used in chemical weapons
        Ammonia: Used in household cleaners
        Butane: Used in lighter fluid
        Toluene: Found in paint thinners

        Source: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/2010/consumer_booklet/chemicals_smoke/index.htm


        • Rachelle

          You don’t understand. THE.LAW.OF.ONTARIO.WILL.NOT.ALLOW.ME.TO. It is not illegal to smoke in your own home and even when no smoking clauses are signed by the tenant the Landlord & Tenant Board will not evict.

          Also, while cigarette smoke does have low levels of carcinogenic chemicals, so do many other substances. Calling it a poisonous gas is alarmist. Phosgene is a poison gas http://en.wikipedia.org. /wiki/Phosgene

          • Ash

            Seems pretty poisonous to me. I am having the same issues. Asthma in a multi level old 70’s style building. Vent fans do not work and they refuse to fix them since it is “too expensive”. Never had issues before but now all I can smell is pot and cigarettes. I have felt so sick and have a hard time breathing. Every morning I wake up not being able to breathe. Even with my windows open it doesn’t help. My sensitivity to the smell of cigarettes is so bad that if someone sits beside me on the bus smelling of it I have to pretty much get up and try to walk away and use my inhaler.

          • Al

            I agree calling it a poison gas is a bit much. However, flatulence is likewise not a poison gas yet people don’t like the smell. And the point here is whether it’s tobacco smoke or pot smoke, it still stinks and negatively impacts a person’s ability to enjoy their home. If you’re addicted to pot or tobacco there are non-stinky products out there such as e-cigs and vaporizers that you can use instead, and they have the added benefit of (for now) even being legal to use in public so if your pot or tobacco addiction is such that t you can’t live without you can do that too.

          • Knowledge is Key


            Just because a person pays rent doesn’t mean they have the right to smoke in the unit doesn’t matter if it hasa clause in the lease or not. Especially when its drugs.

            Secondly even if a person has a medical premission to smoke grow or etc their marijuana they would lose that battle if it went to court because once again it violates the right to “Quiet Enjoyment”

            Whomever wrote this obviously didn’t know the facts or do correct research before producing this article.


          • Rachelle

            Existing tenants also have the right to smoke. Bugging them not to smoke when they have that right is something called harassment.

          • FYI

            In it considered unreasonable disturance a violation of your right as a tenant to “quiet or reasonable enjoyment” which includes the right to be free from unreasonable disturbances by other tenants or their guests under the provincial/terriorial laws.

            Smoking that invades your apartment/ home/ unit where you reside constitutes as unreasonable disturbance!

          • Rachelle

            As a homeowner, if my neighbor is smoking and it drifts over to my house, there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. Why as a tenant do you think that you would have “this right”? No one else does. I understand you would like to but it’s just not the law or the facts.

          • Kevin

            The law of Ontario certainly does cover residential space as sure as it covers the workplace. If i as a home owner am renting my basement apartment and request a non-smoker and it is part of a lease requirement, I have every right to evict for smoking. The Ontario Clean Air Act is on the internet for everyone to see. Smokers have no rights. Get it straight.

          • Rachelle

            I understand what you think but unfortunately, it’s not really true. I wish it were that easy but the Landlord & Tenant Board is part of the “Social Justice Tribunal” and that is not social justice for you, the landlord. I keep asking in this thread for examples of tenants being evicted for smoking. I myself dealt with this issue with a friend of mine who was highly allergic to smoke and she could not get an eviction. She got an agreement from the tenant that she wouldn’t smoke in the apartment when she tried to evict her and then the tenant kept smoking anyways. She brought her back and she did not get her eviction. Eventually she did get an eviction based on non payment of rent. I wish all these smarty pants pseudo-lawyers would go spend a day at the LTB and see what is going on before making pronouncements.

            Part of the problem is how to prove that someone is smoking when they are inside where you cannot see them. It’s shitty but before a landlord spends thousands in legal fees, they should be aware what they are up against.

        • Smoker

          oh ya ! we smokers are so dumb……..duh…..

      • Adriana

        Rachelle, have you considered visiting a mental health specialist? Just mention that you are a psychopath and that you hate your fellow humans. The best part, you will die of lung cancer as people like you ALWAYS deserve the dish they serve to the others.

        And as per your comment, I can only hope your children are exposed daily and in vast amounts to the smoke. What is good for the goose it is good for the gander. Just tell me where you are and I can sent you army of people to puff up their nose – and yours.

        • Rachelle

          I’m not a smoker anymore and quit many years ago now, but I’m still not a person who tries to strip my fellow humans of their right to smoke in their own home in case I get a wayward whiff of a stray tendril of smoke. It’s not that dangerous.

      • Bite Me

        Bull tootin’, honey. Get your facts straight.

    • addy step

      Having a bbq creates just as much toxins even more concentrated then standing next to someone who wants to have a cigarette. A cigarette takes like 5 min to smoke, where as a bbq can last for a few hours or longer for slow cookers. If you have ever enjoyed a bbq and then expect people to stop smoking then your being a hypocrite. Toxins are in the air all around us however making this a witch hunt on people who smoke is outrageous. People who dont smoke have the option to live in smoke free environments since there are several buildings to accommodate them but there are no buildings for smokers. Non smokers get a lot of special treatment and still want to have the right to tell smokers what to do with their own life. Grow up people.

      • Jessica

        Are you stupid?

        1. How many people BBQ inside???
        2. Don’t tell anyone that they have the option to live in a smoke free dwelling, even when the dwelling has been deemed smoke free. Asshole smokers will do so anyway…
        3.. Damn straight I will tell a smoker what to do with their life… Especially when my health is at risk. You grow up!

      • Bite Me

        Maybe all that smoking has fried your brain cells? Non-smokers are not a burden on society – show respect for decent people now, puffy.

  • Terri

    Ok, I get the smoking/non smoking issue. We smoke but not in the apartment because we don’t want the smell in the house.
    Our neighbours cook DAILY with curry. Our landlord has installed a fume hood, which they randomly use. But the cooking smells permeate our furnishings and cause allergic reactions for my husband (anaphylaxis type).
    We have left our windows open, used air fresheners, and bleached the cupboards TWICE this last month.
    What can we legally do?

    Don’t say move—we have been here 5 years, they’ve been here 6 months. And yes, they are aware of the problem. The landlord spoke to them prior to installing the fume hood (he installed it on Easter Sunday while they were away). He’s an EXCELLENT landlord but we are all concerned with unfounded, unreasonable racial claims.


    • Rachelle

      You have to move. It’s obviously a health issue. The Landlord & Tenant Board will not evict the apartment next door for curry smell. Use your energies wisely.

      • Al

        So who is going to subsidize the thousands of dollars it will likely cost Terri to move?

        • Rachelle

          Dear Al,

          Terri will because Terri is an adult and responsible for her life, her housing and her choices.

          • Michael Stewart

            does this mean I am not allowed to make hydrofluoric acid or Uranium hexafluoride in my apartment? Wish I knew that before my complex started glowing at night.

          • Rachelle

            You probably shouldn’t collect the radioactive material from smoke detectors either 🙂

    • Smoker

      Hope you never move to India omg…!!!

    • Bite Me

      I bet you smoke just outside in an area that bothers non-smokers, right?

      Boo hoo hoo, no sympathy, honey.

  • Terri

    Thank you for your response. I don’t like the answer and think it to be an unfair portion on the law, but that’s the way it is.
    Who would we consult about costs? It’s not cheap to move and after being excellent tenants for five years, we will have the additional costs of replacing stinky furniture and ensuring the carpets are cleaned. We would never dream of leaving the place unclean.
    Is there no clause for unduly disturbing the reasonable enjoyment of other tenants? I was told that if an animal causes allergic reactions like that then either the cat goes or the tenant can be evicted.
    I’m not trying to be oppositional, we just love our place and what’s the odds of having a fantastic landlord like we do now?

    • Rachelle

      I don’t think there is anyone to consult about the costs. You are caught in a legal conundrum, the neighbor has the right to cook whatever food they like regardless of your allergy. It’s like someone who’s allergic to bees, the landlord is not required to keep the yard bee free and if a neighbor was a bee keeper the landlord wouldn’t have any control over it or be responsible for that situation. Therefore no compensation. This is just part of life. cooking stinky food is not a reason for eviction. Very very few people are evicted because of the foul smells they make.

      As for the cat situation that would only happen if the owner said they were allergic in the ad, and had plenty of Dr proof to back it up and lived in the property. If there were other tenants it just wouldn’t cut the mustard, no pet clauses in leases are void.

  • Terri

    Thank you. Again, I wish the law were different but it is what it is.
    I can only hope we either get posted or they move because another rental in this area will increase our monthly costs by about $400 (we really lucked out with this place) and we will lose the fenced yard and privacy. Or, the excessive smell that late at night will draw in the black bears even more and nature will take its course. Thankfully, we are not the ones causing it and the bears will have an easier time ripping their windows open. There are well published warnings by the town and MNR about deterring them so there is adequate notice.
    Again, thank you for your response! I’m happy to have found a clear cut site to get answers.

  • Ian Jakes

    Here’s my situation.

    When I first moved into my apartment, I used to smoke on the balcony, until one evening a women above me yelled at me to “STOP SMOKING”! Then she slammed her balcony door.

    I felt bad and that was the last time I ever smoked on the balcony, relegating myself to leaving the building whenever I got the urge to light up.

    Now that I’ve quit for 6 months, I know exactly what she was complaining about. Every few hours there is smoke wafting into my apartment through by balcony screen and I find it really annoying. Smoke always seems to find its way into any available entrance.

    It’s not an option closing my window or door, because the building does tend to get quite hot due to not having individual unit thermostats. How would you like to wake up at 2:00 am to the smell of smoke? Yes, that’s how sensitive I’ve become to it.

    From the fresh perspective of a non-smoker, I really hope smoking is banned from apartment buildings / condos some day. Let’s hope sooner, rather than later.

    • Rachelle

      Communal living is not for everyone that’s for sure.

    • Dave

      I never smoked and I’d be hard pressed to believe that someone smoking in the outside air is a heath hazard unless they were right in front of you blowing it in your face. This new power some people think they have to dictate to others how to live and greatly exaggerate the effects of some cigarette smoke in the open air being dispersed and there by quite weak in concentration. You may not like the smell but it’s harmless when you compare that to automobile exhaust and planes flying overhead that are heavy polluters. Of course there is nothing you can do about cars or planes so you concentrate on bitching about someone having a smoke on their balcony. Meanwhile you jump in your car and spew poisen all over the place. My point is that we all contribute to bad air and although one may not like some one smoking near them it’s really a non issue when it’s in the outdoors. I’m in a condo and if you know anything about the basics of a structure with open windows on one side and no back draft unless there is a strong wind cigarette smoke is not going to come in the unit and even if it does its dispursed to the point of being harmless. The woman above you was ignorant behaving like that and granted smoking is a heath hazard for the smoker but in an outdoor environment with all the other sourses of pollution it does not even register.

  • Mark

    There have been at least 5 rulings in the past 3 years by the Landlord Tenant Board where the adjudicator sided with the landlord in enforcing an eviction notice due to the tenant violating a non-smoking agreement. They all stated that smoking impinged upon the other tenant’s right to enjoyment of the property. Even in 2007, in Toronto, the board ruled in favour of the landlord who proved that cigarette smoke damaged the furniture in an apartment and the offending tenant was evicted.
    Just google “Landlord applications – case law related to smoke-free housing” for the link that takes you to the actual rulings.

    • Rachelle

      It was not the Landlord & Tenant Board who ruled in favour of the landlord, it was Small Claims and for damages not eviction, and it was a short term rental. There were only three ruling in the list I googled up where the landlord won and about 3 times that many that the landlord lost or the case was dismissed. ALL THE CASES THAT WON INCLUDED NON PAYMENT OF RENT!!! The smoking was incidental to the eviction. In the cases the won there was medical evidence of injury to the landlord and a Dr letter and a NON smoking clause in the lease.

      I’m not impressed with your three cases and in one of the cases in your list, the adjudicator states the the Board does not grant eviction for smoking unless there are serious allergies and medical testimony and proof of a non smoking agreement.

      • Mark

        Please click on this link:http://www.smokefreehousingon.ca/sfho/tenants-case-law-landlord-apps.html
        and read these cases: NOL-07219-12, EAL-03261-09, NOL-00930-10 and NOL-01030-10.
        All three of these cases were ruled on by the Landlord Tenant Board, not small claims. All three only concerned smoking. All three were ruled in the landlord’s favour. You state categorically, in your statements above, that the Board is never going to evict someone for smoking. That is simply not true. Yes, certain conditions must be met – no smoking policy, etc. – but they will rule to evict.

  • Katie

    People may have a right to smoke in their own homes but if they smoke near entranceways, into other tenants’ windows, etc., it can be pursued and the fines aren’t small. My landlord has spoken to a tenant next to us because his girlfriend visits and smokes outside about 6 feet away from our window, and has mentioned that if she doesn’t stop, he will evict him. He said he won’t risk the fines that he could be faced with because of this. The fact is, entranceways in any business are to be smoke free. A rental complex is a business and therefore applies 100%. Not to mention basic human rights to not have to suffer because of someone else’s filthy habit. If allergies or asthma in particular are an issue and there’s a lease agreement involved, do you think the suffering tenant should cough up the $ for the remaining months of rent despite the building being smoke-free? I think not. And the only reason this sort of thing keeps happening is because people don’t pursue it. But rest assured that will change.

    • Rachelle

      So your landlord has threatened another tenant who smokes to close to your window with eviction? That should get him a nasty harassment suit. If a fire engine goes by on the street and makes a loud sound do you think the tenants should pay rent? Is it the landlord smoking? No ? Then why the hell should he suffer?

      The only reason this keeps happening is because landlords keep losing in 99% of cases at the landlord & tenant board for smoking. The Adjudicators are not going to start evicting people for smoking anytime soon.

      • rachelle is a bitch

        Rachelle face it your habbit is fucking disgusting! When you are old filled with black shit in your lungs and have disgusting yellow teeth don’t cry wolf sweetheart! You sit there acting high and mighty but the truth is smoking is a filthy habbit and smokers don’t see it because they’re the ones who choose to kill themselves. Why should I have to poison my body because your a loser who chooses to poison your body?

        One other thing you should realize is if a law or a technicality is argued properly one could get an entire crowd of smokers evicted with the snap of a finger! All one has to argue is what would a reasonable do? Trust me, a reasonable person will not sit by while some ignoramus pollutes their home, their furniture, their expensive posessions with a dirty and toxic habbit. Slowly smokers are being outlawed and trust me its only a matter of time before entire cities become smoke free and I can’t wait 😀

        • Rachelle

          I don’t smoke anymore, I quit over a year ago now. I also pretty aware of what goes on at the Landlord & Tenant Board. Don’t shoot the messenger. Do you imagine that all the scores of landlords haven’t thought of arguing their case?

        • co bo

          THANK ALL OF YOU WHO ARE FIGHTING , FOR ALL OF THOSE WHO CANNOT FIGHT ANYLONGER FOR THEMSELVES..I agree , Please people who are able to do something about this smoke coming into my apartment . I live on 6th floor , need fresh air . I am disable, I have no family . I try to keep my health in good condition . I have had no high blood pressure was not diabetic and other than some allergies until I moved into this senior apartment 7 yrs ago . I cannot sit on my porch or exercise on my little trampoline because both neighbors smoking on their balconies.. I have awakened 3am to find that I have been breathing smoke .cannot open my windows. open my windows,and in the last seven years I have watch my blood pressure rise, developed daily throat irritation w/ drainage along with blood sugar problems . Dr. said that second hand smoke increase risk for all these things.
          on top of all that I am now so angry on the inside because I feel so helpless. I feel worn out from running. .Had same thing happen at last apartment. Asked neighbors if we can do something different and they seem to laugh at me. Please . people who are able ,! FIGHT ! FIGHT ! FIGHT! FIGHT ! for those who cannot fight for themselves . Please do not allow this evil life destroying habit to destroy other innocent people .THANK YOU. PLEASE GOD HELP THE VICTIMS WHO ARE TRAPPED IN THIS FOWL PRACTICE. GIVE THEM A BETTER WAY TO EASE THEIR FEAR AN ANXIETY THAN MURDER AND SUICIDE.

          • Rachelle

            Ok you’re a senior and you developed high blood pressure. Have you considered that it’s not the odd whiff of secondhand smoke coming from next door that is causing your problem? It might just be age.

        • Smoker

          Katie, When did you stop smoking ? oh ! and I better not cook cabbage eh?

  • Charlotte

    What kind of recourse does one have if the tenants below you are smoking marijuana outside but by your bedroom window?

    My landlord refuses to tell them to even smoke at the back of the yard. Every night I wake up to the smell of skunky weed and loud hacking coughing. They might as well be in bed with me. Short of moving, what can I do?

    • Rachelle

      I suggest a spray bottle like the one I use on the tom cats in the area. Put water in it. Other than that if you go out and demand a toke every time you smell their joint, they’ll probably make sure they don’t disturb you in the future 🙂

    • Smoker

      Ask for a toke 🙂

  • Curious

    Are you able to help landlords evict tenants that are pot smokers? How long would that take and what are your rates?

  • Trishia

    I am an apartment tenant in the same building for 28 years.
    In the last 2 years I have been plagued with smokers above, below and beside me.
    6 people in 3 homes all smoking at least 10 times every evening 7 days a week each. All of this smoke comes into my home.
    For me, this is the second had smoke from 420 cigarettes per week !

    A tenant is legalle entitled to ‘resonable’ enjoyment of their home.
    So do I also have the right to reasonable enjoyment.
    Let them smoke inside their home.
    But when they all go out on their balconies and introduce harmful substances into my home via the common airway, this is a serious problem,
    and the dangers of cigarette smoke and second-hand cigarette smoke are well documented and known.

    In Ontario, Canada,
    a tenant can file a T2 complaint against the Landlord for failing to protect the tenants rights to reasonable enjoyment and seek monetary compensation through the review board.
    If a Landlord tries to bully a tenant for complaining, a T6 form can be filled out against the Landlord.

    It is vitally important to be patient through an ordeal and calmly keep a log of dates, and durations of incidents. This case file can be presented to the Review board as evidence.

    They have the power to resolve the problem and see to it that the Landlord compensate, monetarily, a portion or all of the rent back to the tenant who is victimized.

    If you are a tenant suffering from smokers,
    you must keep a log, and notify in writing, your landlord. Keep copies of all communications.
    Request that the Landlord respond in writing and sign the response letter(s).
    This will also act as evidence at a review board hearing.

    Should the Landlord fail to comply with their legal responsibilities, you then go to the review board with your case by filling out the appropriate form(s).

    hope this helps someone somewhere.

    • Rachelle

      You do realize that the smoker tenant can also file against the landlord for harassement. They are allowed to smoke. I’m a non smoker but your rights end where another person’s rights begin. Suing your landlord to pay you because another tenant is smoking according to their rights is the height of unfairness and ridiculousness. As I have mentioned various times, despite the strident protestations, no one is showing me evictions that have been awarded based on tenants smoking.

      • Daniel

        Then take a look at Mark’s post above because he did provide a few examples of tenants in Ontario being evicted based on smoking in the home.

      • Vlad

        Rachelle, what do you do for a living? You sound – word to word like a landlord’s dogmas propaganda machine would sound ( you worry only about sole business of landlords).You justify these corporate sharks to stay as sharks and just launder money from the less fortunate masses of people .People that can not afford to live or move to anywhere else? How much do you get paid to advocate unhealthy habits and defending these habits in open forums? I used to smoke and it took me a leg and an arm to quit. Only after I quit I realized the value of a clean air. But you……You…. I do not believe you……you are saying that you quit, but you never did, because there is no evidence in any of your statements that you enjoy not smoking more than smoking.But there are more than enough evidence that you are in fact, a chain smoker!

        • Rachelle

          I own a property management company, I did smoke but haven’t smoked in years I actually got TMJ from chewing nicorette lol. But I also don’t believe that it’s the end of the world if you get a whiff of smoke from someone else’s balcony. Regardless the point of this article originally was to discuss the problem landlords have legally because they are required to respect the rights of both smokers and non smokers.I myself went to the LTB with an owner trying to evict a tenant who smoked, when the landlord was highly allergic and had a Dr’s letter to prove she was allergic. The lease said no smoking, the ad said no smoking and the tenant was not evicted. Since then the laws have changed more to deal with the issue. Believe me landlords would completely prefer non smokers of cigarettes and weed, because of the complaints, smells and damaged to the unit caused by smoking however if we are not given the tools to enforce our leases and protect other tenants, what can we do?

  • Ray

    Terrible article that doesn’t fully explore all the options and does a dangerous job of making it seem that the only recourse is to move out.

    • Rachelle

      Sorry you feel that way, maybe you could do some searching on Canlii and find cases that were successful in evicting the tenant for smoking. That would be helpful, if you supported your position, instead of making things up.

      • Vlad

        Rachelle , please stop posting, everyone already knew that rental corporations with your face on are evil and to be avoided at any cost. But you also know that some people with low incomes can not afford any where else to live at . That means you keep them at the gun point telling them if you do not like it ,move? I thik you are anti social being that worked in lanlord business for some time and learned to hate anyone that criticizes smoking as unhealthy habit. Also we want you to be the last person to hear anything about the Law , because based on the socially acceptable law . Every person here knows to read and everyone here read law, knows it better than you are. That s why we will keep fighting and we will win. And you lose.

        • Rachelle

          You know this is my blog right? Please stop acting like poor people are the victims of everything. They can and do move. Just because they think they don’t have a choice or that choice is hard doesn’t make it true. People should move if their health is affected by smoking, that’s reality, because the landlord can’t throw out the offender. What if the smoker moved in 10 years before the non smoker?

          I’m sorry that you don’t like reality of the situation, what do you want landlords to do? I’m not in charge of the law. But you’ll be the first to complain if we kick out all the smokers from buildings because eeeeeviiiil landlords. Where the hell are all the smokers going to live? You just want to complain, demonize landlords and not come up with any solutions.

  • John Galt

    Enlighten us…where is the right to smoke enshrined in law? The fact is that you have no more a right to smoke in your own home than you do to blast music.

    You do not have the right to do anything in your apartment which prevents my quiet enjoyment of my apartment.

    • Rachelle

      Actually if you are a tenant you are subject to loud noise bylaws, but those bylaws do generally allow the playing of loud music between 8 to 11. In fact your right of quiet enjoyment is in balance with the right of the other tenants to blare loud music they enjoy. Smoking in one’s own home is quite legal. Smoking is legal. Again I urge people to look up actual judgements on Canlii.

      • John Galt

        There are others, but here you go:

        http://canlii.ca/t/2f8fv . Determination 5 is especially pertinent: “I find that being exposed to second-hand smoke on an ongoing basis, and especially the exposure of the young child, undoubtedly constitute substantial interference with the Tenants’ enjoyment of the rental unit/complex.”

        So please tell me where the right to smoke is enshrined. I have read every word of the CCRF and the HRC but there is nothing there for me to conclude that a person has the *right* to behave in a manner injurious to others. It simply doesn’t exist.

    • Alison

      If a prisoner goes to jail they have smoke times.. if your taking away by the cops after so much gome by law they need to give you a cigarette because smokers do in fact have rights.

  • Rachelle

    1. Starting immediately, upon receiving a complaint from the Tenants about second-hand smoke coming from the neighbouring unit, the Landlords shall take timely, effective steps, including but not limited to issuing a notice of termination to the offending tenants, to prevent the neighbouring tenants from exposing the Tenants to second-hand smoke, thereby substantially interfering with the Tenants’ enjoyment of the unit/complex.

    2. If the Landlords fail to comply with the above terms, the Tenants are authorized to deduct 25% from the monthly rent until the Landlords meet the conditions set out in paragraph 1 above.

    Right but the very same Landlord & Tenant Board will not evict the people who are smoking. The landlord will just have to eat the 25% loss of rent.

    This landlord is screwed.

    Let me tell you a story, in 2011, I had one tenant get charged with attempted murder for trying to stab another…it took me 9 long months to evict a person that was charged by the police for trying to stab another person with witnesses. I was barely able to get the eviction. The Landlord & Tenant Board is not evicting tenants for smoking. This judgement is a perfect example of how the Landlord & Tenant Board doesn’t treat landlords fairly.

  • John Galt

    The tenant who has to live in an apartment which stinks and harms the health of their child is the one who is screwed. The landlord has to make a good faith effort to resolve the issue. Have an HVAC person check to see if the vents are working properly. Ask the tenant to smoke outside. Seal up vents between the units.

  • Rachelle

    That’s just it, this recent study for example shows no harm from secondhand smoke. If there is a smoker of whatever in the house, it will smell. However the Landlord & Tenant Board will not evict based on smoking even if there is a no smoking clause in the lease.


  • John Galt

    Even assuming that study is valid, you are making up a conclusion not supported anywhere. Even if secondhand smoke does not cause cancer, it does not mean it does not ’cause harm’. Asthma, bronchitis, inflammation, increased susceptibility to ear infections, etc. are all well documented in the medical literature.

    Rachelle, my point – which you’ve chosen to ignore – is that the landlord must act on behalf of the aggrieved tenant. If the eviction of the offending tenant isn’t successful, that’s on the Board. There are myriad other things landlords can do: ensure their ventilation systems are functioning properly, determine whether prospective tenants smoke, designating outdoor spaces are smoking areas, etc.

    They can’t just sit back and say, “well, its the tenant’s right to smoke so deal with it or move”.

  • Rachelle

    The point is that without a clear course of action including legislative support at the Landlord & Tenant Board, there is nothing for the landlord to do. Even with a non smoking clause in the lease, the landlord cannot evict evict a tenant who smokes in their unit. I have seen this myself personally even when the tenant agreed and signed a mediated agreement, even when the landlord had medical documentation that she was allergic, the landlord had to pay the tenant to leave. This was even in a home that that was a small under three unit property. This landlord had to pay over $3000 in legal fees and lost.

    I’m sorry you don’t like it, the judgement you showed me is the height of irony. Not only can you not do anything on your tenant’s behalf even with a non smoking clause, but now they’ll reduce the complaining tenant’s rent by 25%. It just makes me angry.

    • you

      hey, just so you know you’re wrong!
      The LTB does infact evict people who smoke in apartments that have a no smoking clause.
      It’s called interfering with right to reasonable enjoyment.

      if you look at the past decisions section of the LTB website you can see many cases where people have been evicted for smoking in their homes.

      Here’s one


      • you

        here’s the part where the tenant was evicted for smoking, directly from the judge on the case.

        “The Tenant admitted smoking in the residential complex and stated that she had no intention to
        stop smoking in the residential complex. She said that the advertisement for the rental unit did not
        specify that this was a non-smoking unit/residential complex and that this was not specified in her
        discussions with the Landlord prior to her moving in.
        All the units of the residential complex share a forced air heating system, which means that when
        the Tenant smokes in her unit, the smoke is spread throughout the residential complex. Simply
        opening a window does not prevent the smoke from spreading in the house.
        I considered issuing a conditional order that would allow the tenancy to continue if the Tenant
        would stop smoking indoors. She was adamant that she would continue smoking in her rental
        unit. In considering the interests of the Landlord, the tenant who has been residing in the
        residential complex for about one year and a half, and the Tenant who has moved in less than
        two months ago, I find that it would be unfair to grant relief from eviction pursuant to subsection
        83(1) of the Act.”

      • Rachelle

        The landlord’s case was dismissed in the linked article. So the landlord didn’t evict the tenant.

  • paul

    The Smoke-Free Ontario Act prohibits smoking in workplaces, enclosed public spaces and also in motor vehicles when children under 16 are present. It also bans the public display of tobacco products prior to purchase and prohibits youth-targeted tobacco products such as flavoured cigarillos.

    These efforts have greatly reduced tobacco use and lowered health risks to non-smokers in Ontario.

    The Smoke-Free Ontario Act is designed to protect the health of all Ontarians by prohibiting smoking in all enclosed workplaces and enclosed public places in Ontario as of May 31, 2006

  • John Galt


    You’re angry that the L&TB reduced a landlord’s rent for failing to take any action on an issue which severely impacted the tenant’s quality of life? Nobody said the landlord had to be successful: the landlord merely had to make a good faith attempt at resolving the issue.

    There are plenty of other cases where the tenant did not win a rent reduction or other award because the landlord took some sort of corrective action.

    The moral of the story ought to be that landlords can’t just simply collect rent. They actually have to provide services beyond merely allowing someone else to live in the rental property. When there’s conflict between tenants for legitimate issues, they have to act to resolve the issue.

  • Laura

    I rent an apartment in my home. My recent tenants were mostly non-smokers. One of the couple did smoke but she was using those water based steam cigarettes as her husband did not like cigarettes. So this was great, as a person living in the home and suffering asthma those water based smokes did not cause any harm. However, they moved out this year, bought their own first home.

    New tenants moved in last month. He is a heavy pot smoker. He mostly smokes outside and said he would never smoke inside. I do smell it inside on occasion though so I suspect he chooses to smoke inside when it is cold out, etc. Anyway, I accepted the pot smoking, not sure about it but let it go because he seemed to be considerate about it.

    I came to this site because I want to know what the laws are, what are my risks legally, due to the pot being on the premises? It is still not legal as far as I know and I do have neighbours who live close enough to smell it and report it. There was a small issue (about a truck parked in the driveway) in the past which someone called the city about and I had to deal with the situation. So it is likely someone will report the pot smell from my house. I have never had trouble with police and would happily keep it that way.

    • Rachelle

      As far as I know it is legal to smoke pot. If you called the city of Toronto, they’d probably tell you that if you don’t like the smell of pot just don’t go near Rob Ford’s office

      • you

        wow. wrong again!
        it is not legal to smoke pot in ontario.
        is there a reason why you are posting so much incorrect information on this site?

        to anyone looking for actual correct information about landlord/tenant rights or Canadian laws in general please please look at the landlord and tenant board website. this woman has no idea what she is talking about.

        • Rachelle

          Yes the pages of the Landlord & Tenant Board are full of real world examples of landlord & tenant problems and disputes about pot smoking.

    • Smoker

      Ask if he has a medical subscription , that he is using it for health reason.

  • Lana

    I have the same issue: since last two months pot fumes are constantly coming in to my apartment. I have permanent disability (muscular dystrophy) which effects on my breathing system, and every other night I am having an issue triggered by the pot fumes. I live in a apartment building that has a few units for wheelchair users, and I live in one of them. My subsidized rental unit is wheelchair accessible, therefore I can’t just move somewhere because someone smokes pot now. Is there anything that my co-op can do? Thanks.

    • Rachelle

      Apartments are not airtight, I’m not sure what can be done. The best best would be to have someone talk to the guy and ask if he could be kind enough to smoke outside.

      • John Galt

        Rachelle, apartments aren’t soundproof nor bulletproof, but we expect landlords to enforce restriction regarding those. The issue here is the same. The “someone” to “talk to the guy” is the landlord.

        Tenants pay for the right to quiet enjoyment of a property. That is an actual right enshrined in law. There is no right to smoke.

      • Sarah

        Off topic but I just wanted to say well done and I am in awe of your patience 🙂 I’ve read the whole thread and it seems you are being unfairly vilified and verbally abused for not joining in with an angry mob by lying and denying facts you know to be true. I am a non smoker, but I am also a reasonable person and understand that laws don’t change just because I throw an online temper tantrum/have severe control issues. I don’t know what is wrong with these people, but good job dealing with them and I think it’s sad that you had to in the first place.

  • SP

    I have basement tenants who are pretty good. I stipulated “no-smoking” and they are non-smokers, so no problems there.
    The issue is I have a sensitivity to certain smells and chemicals. I do everything I can to stay away from offending smells, and I don’t use them in my house. If I see a smoker outside, I will walk a huge radius around him/her – as far as I have to. The sinus reaction is terrible – my nasal passages inflames and dry up, as does my throat, and I get a massive headache. It will last for days. If in the meantime, I get hit with another smell, it will last for weeks.
    I don’t get to experience “nice” smells, like grass and flowers except maybe a few times a year, for a second, then it is gone.
    My tenants cook with some unusual spice – which kills my nose — the rest of their cooking is fine, it’s just that one spice. They also burn a big vanilla-scented candle which is cloying and terrible. Last night she burned the candle from 5pm and my furnace blew it up throughout the house. I turned my furnace down, but not off (not going to freeze them out), and I awoke at 230 to that smell in my bedroom.
    I have sealed off vents on my mainfloor and in my bedroom – and have a heater and an air purifier in my room just because of these smells.
    In the winter my windows were frozen shut (-30) and I was going crazy.
    This morning, I have had it. It’s 7 am and I still have a bad headache and my nose feels like I was buried in sand for days. The tenants have been here since Nov and it is now April and I never said anything because my sister said it is a risky topic but she does not have allergies. (And I do – not in my head – I have had nasal surgery.)
    I’m going to tell my tenants that I will be attempting to install a better extrusion fan for the cooking, and to kindly refrain from utilizing scented candles because of my allergic response (which I have taken steps to try and control). If these steps do not work, I will ask them to look for another apartment. Sorry to sound harsh, but I live in this house, and I have tried to be accommodating, but when you can’t even sleep in your own bedroom anymore without waking up from these smells, no, I have a right to enjoy my own home. (Not to mention the toxicity of the candle, and whatever cleaning I will need to do to rent the apt again.)

  • JL

    Hi Rachelle,

    I moved into a multi unit dwelling in Toronto about a month ago. The lease has no mention of smoking in it at all, I was never asked if I was a smoker, nor was it ever discussed with me by the landlord prior to moving in.

    Since I have lived here, I have smoked occasionally indoors, and outdoors as well. I would say it has been about even. I always leave all my windows open, spray air freshener, and mostly limit my smoking to a small sunroom I have that is an addition to the house, and has a door separating it from the actual apartment. The few times I have smoked within my living room, I have received a complaint. My living room is directly beside the properties entrance so clearly this complaining tenant was smelling it within the hallway for a second when she entered the property.

    The first complaint I received, I did not bring up legalities, and kept it as calm and friendly as possible as I really don’t want to start a war here. I advised my landlords that I would smoke within the sunroom only, they didn’t love the idea, but they didn’t tell me no.

    Since then, she has complained four more times. Stating now she has asthma, and is waking up weezing, and knows my smoke is the culprit. I find it odd, the asthma claim as she has cats, and this property also has dogs within it. She also bikes daily…

    My landlords are now very aggressive. They have sent me emails making threats of suing me, stating what I am doing is illegal, telling me they are evicting me. They have not even talked to me, and tried to come up with a mutually agreed upon compromise.

    I really find it hard to believe smoke is infiltrating her unit. We have no shared vents, my windows are constantly open, and I am not even a heavy smoker.

    I sent my landlord my rights per the Ontario smoke free act, that I could do as I please within my individual unit. I mentioned my Human Rights, and also the tenancy act. I advised they did not even do any investigation to prove smoke was indeed infiltrating her unit. That they did nothing to attempt to rectify the situation to ensure both her and I are satisfied with the outcome, that there are also other smokers within the property, and so to point the finger at me without evidence of anything was unfair. I then advised them if they wanted to attempt to move forward with an eviction, to go for it, but to not threaten or send me angry emails any further.

    I am pretty upset, and wasn’t going to even reply to them. I was just going to comply with their bullying ways, but I just couldn’t. I feel I am being treated unfairly, and made out to be a bad tenant, which I am far from. I am a quiet, single professional, clean, and have always paid my rent on time. Which is fairly substantial, which upsets me even more that I am now paying nearly 2000 a month to be treated like a criminal, threatened, and basically told to start packing. In the meantime, I have completely stopped all smoking indoors, and advised my landlord I was willing to do this in the summer months, but that in the winter, I would not promise that I would not have the occasional cigarette within the sunroom.

    If they do proceed with an eviction process, how long would it take for this to all happen. Is there any chance I could be forced to move out here Based on her asthma claims? I really don’t want to give up this place, although I am pretty upset that already this quickly after moving in, my landlord is treating me so poorly.

    – Thank you

    signed smoker being bullied

  • JL

    I should also mention, this is a five unit dwelling for which I have the main floor.

    Looking forward to hearing your advice! Thank you.

  • JohnGalt

    There is no “right to smoke” anymore than there is a “right to play drums at 2am”.

    Each tenant has the right to quiet enjoyment of their unit. That is a right that is actually enshrined in legislation.

    • Rachelle

      You’re making the unwarranted conclusion that legal smoking by one tenant in his apartment is interfering with quiet enjoyment of another tenant in their apartment.

      That has to be proven according to Landlord & Tenant’s Board satisfaction and you, despite all your blustering have not yet showed me even one case where a tenant was evicted for smoking according to a non smoking clause in a lease.

      Do you think landlords like smokers? I can assure you they do not. It’s a lot harder to turn over a unit when a heavy smoker has lived in there.

  • Eva Brazel

    I disagree with the focus on smell…. cigarettes don’t just stink, they contain more than 3000 toxins— and are a known carcinogen!! This is not just about the smoker’s right to smoke and the non-smoker’s right to quiet enjoyment of their property — it is about deliberately exposing others to known highly toxic substances. If condos are not built to protect people then whomever is living in them should be protected by the laws of the land– it sounds like Ontario is way behind…. here in B.C. we have lots of clean air buildings and people are buying into them faster than into any other buildings. Cigarette smoke causes irreversible, irreparable damage to lungs and to property and reselling a suite that has had smokers in it, in my part of the city has proven to be almost impossible. I screen my tenants very carefully to make sure that they are nonsmokers and that they agree not to allow others to smoke in my suite. We have had a smoker in our building but with lots of support from the neighbours who were equally troubled we eventually got rid of him. His disgusting side stream smoke got into several other suites via electrical outlets, dryer vents and numerous other routes. Like many smokers he was rude and self centred. One of my tenants had children sleeping in the bedroom and there are windows only on one side of the suite — facing north, where the balconies are also located. He smoked outside and it vented directly up and into the bedroom….. in our province if a parent smokes and exposes their children to side stream smoke in this fashion they can find themselves facing child abuse charges. I think that smoking belongs in the same category as knowingly and purposely exposing other to dangerous toxic chemicals…. because that is exactly what it is. Smokers can go outside and smoke down the street (as long as they are not with the city’s declared setback from windows, vents etc. which is something like 6 meters). Non-smokers cannot escape the ordeal of someone else smoking without notice…. and doing so often in the middle of the evening or night. This is entrapment… in one’s own home. Piggy people smoke and require others to be entrapped in their own home… and I include pot smokers…. the smell of some pot is much, much worse than the smell of cigarettes but may do less harm… even so, just ponder the thought of how inconsiderate and self-centred it is to knowingly make someone else that uncomfortable in their own home…. this is not just about laws, it is about ethics and quite simply, it is about what is right and what is wrong.

    • djs9577@gmail.com

      Have you noticed the condition of the air we breathe and the media? no one cares who is right or wrong it’s what you can prove with what you have. The issue is the condition of the planet, you think you are so intelligent with your irrelevant comments. If you are so right, change the world or watch it burn before you. Like the cigarettes you complain about.

    • djs9577@gmail.com

      Have you noticed the condition of the air we breathe and the media? no one cares who is right or wrong it’s what you can prove with what you have. The issue is the condition of the planet, you think you are so intelligent with your irrelevant comments. If you are so right, change the world or watch it burn before you. Like the cigarettes you complain about. i dont have a vehicle can i sue everyone for driving around i have to live in this world, the issue here is ridiculous and absurd let it be smokers can smoke. as you live your life call it selfish while you force others to do what you think is right.

  • Eva Brazel

    Also, I want to ad that it is not just about the quiet enjoyment of one’s own home. It is about the ‘use and enjoyment’ of one’s own home and balcony, in the instance of a condo that is above another condo where someone smokes with windows on only one side. If someone smokes, and the smoke reaches my condo, I CANNOT stay in my condo, I MUST leave, or I will get violently ill. This means the deliberate behaviours of another person have caused a diminished use of my property. I also CANNOT RENT TO OTHERS KNOWING THAT THERE IS GOING TO BE A SMOKER BELOW THEM… AS THEN I SHARE IN THE RESONSIBILITY. THIS MEANS I LOSE RENTAL INCOME AND WILL EVENTUALLY LOSE MY PROPERTY AS I CERTAINLY CANNOT PAY THE MORTGAGE, MAINTENANCE FEES, LAND TAXES, INSURANCE AND UPKEEP ON MY SUITE IF I HAVE NO RENTAL INCOME. EVEN with the rental income, I pay for a LOT of those expenses out of my own pocket, so the very last thing I need it a smoker diminishing the value of the suite with stale smoke that lingers even after painting. THERE needs to be nation wide laws against indoor smoking …. plain and simple. This is the only fair thing, and it is the only safe position. What happened to “do no harm” — smoking is being deliberately malificent… !!!

    • Rachelle

      I understand your point but so far no smoking cannot be enforced by the landlord here in Ontario. So it makes no difference if Smoke is pure instant cancer if I as the landlord have no tools to deal with the issue and evict a tenant for smoking tobacco and pot then what am I supposed to do? This is even with a no smoking clause in my lease. So clearly the law disagrees with your view point and while I respect that not smoking is “moral and ethical” it just doesn’t matter because the LAW is what it is.

      A tenant with a medical marijuana license can start a grow op in my house and they do not have to even notify the landlord.

      I’m not here to argue you with you, I’d love to see some clear guidance on the issue.

  • Chris

    I’m sorry… you talked about the rights of smokers… “where are they going to live” … but not really about the rights of non-smokers. The rights of one infringe upon the rights of the other. So they can NEVER be equal…. slipperly slope or not.

    • Rachelle

      Well the onus is on the non smoker to prove their rights are being infringed in some way. Second hand smoke is problematic in a car or in a bar where everyone is smoking, but it’s really difficult to extrapolate that a whiff of smoke from a sidewalk is going to injure you in some way.

  • Syrmium

    If a building is dedicated as Non- smoking (advertised as such, Non- smoking clause included in all Lease agreements, No-Smoking sign posted in the building), you can evict a tenant who does not comply. Ontario Landlord and Tenant board supports that and we were able to evict a tenant smoker based on those facts.

  • Ann

    Hi, we live here in Calgary. Our neighbor above us is smoking pot like almost everyday. We ignore it at first but last February 17, as I enter the hallway the smell of the pot is really strong. The feeling is just comes up to my forehead to my then to my head. We don’t smoke so we don’t like it and pot is considered as illegal drug. It’s more worser that you can even smell inside your bathroom. There are numerous times whenever we need to use our toilet like 1-2am in the morning, we can smell it.
    There are guidelines and rules that we signed that “no-smoking inside the building and particular areas.”
    I approched and complain to the Landlord. She said we are not the first to complain. There are 4 tenants before who complained about it. But she doesn’t know why the tenant above us who is smoking pot is not warned. We assumed that she is being tolerated over the 15 yrs she’s been staying here. She is affecting other tenants who is not smoking. We understand if it’s a prescription and be considerate she needs to smoke pot outside the building or in her veranda. I believe that this issue is not yet informed to the main office. We’re living here for only 4 months, we love the place and everything. I don’t why people can’t be considerate to other people who doesn’t smoke.

  • joe

    is there anything we can do to stop the smell? charcoal filter? what about an ionizer?

  • Marie

    I live in Ontario and have been fighting to breathe smoke-free air going on 2 years. There is no doubt in my mind that I will win this case. I HAVE THE RIGHT TO BREATHE CLEAN…smokers DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO SMOKE…they have the freedom only. A court wouldn’t give smokers the time of day. I suggest that we “NON-SMOKERS” are the only ones going to succeed with this smoking nuisance and if WE just lay down and take it…WE DESERVE what we get. Just sayin.

  • Marie

    I have the right to breathe CLEAN SMOKE-FREE AIR…..

  • SmokeFreeHousing

    Hello folks, in BC you can actually create bylaws for Strata Buildings that prohibit smoking period. Heavy fines can be levied for smokers who smoke in their unit and that smoke permeates the suite of another strata owner. This is a growing trend especially with pot smokers and that stench is gnarly.

    Tenants go to the Smoke Free Housing BC site and click onto the Tenant tabs and follow their recommendations if your landlord isn’t addressing the problem. They recommend as a last resort using Dispute Resolution but it may not have to go that far.

  • SmokeFreeHousing

    Joe, just put in a search for air purifiers to remove pot odour and quite a few links will come up. Hepa and charcoal filters are good and some quite affordable. Also, change your bathroom and stove range fan to quieter but stronger motor and leave them running. I have a pot head below me and one across from me, and I have asthma and get migraines from the smell, so I understand your frustration.

  • Me

    Wow. So glad I found this site
    I live in a small 15-unit building.
    Landlord used to live here for years, but got a house beginning of the year.
    Since leaving he could give 2 bleeps about the building.

    Pot Smokers in basement units used to smoke only on Fridays. Fine. Now it’s 6-8 times a day.
    And it’s that skunky-pot. I even started a journal, contacted CrimeStoppers .. The works.

    Thing is the people on 2nd floor smell it too. It god awful. It comes into my bathroom, hallway and bedroom.
    I finally wrote the landlord but no reply since I sent an email on Thursday.
    So am wondering if I will see my lawyer this week about it. Police said they are investigating. But takes months. Not sure if a grow-op and NO both apts in basement are not smoking due to medicinal etc

    It’s so bad I have thrown-up 4 times
    And wake up to it at night

    Oh yeah and I AM a smoker too (outside) and since reading this entire page/comments am quitting. Yep.

    So I guess will send him the letter again but by registered mail.
    He used to get back within an hour of anything re: repairs etc but he just doesn’t care, doesn’t clean … Nothing .

    Lady on 2nd floor has been here 23 years. Told me when he finally painted the hallways it was 20 years since the last time AND mop/sweep took him nearly a year. ( a month ago ) .. I think I need to write it all down and send it to the rent board.

    If I move I want him first to get a letter from them stating he is required to up-keep this building.

    But mainly it’s the pot smell. It’s disgusting. Worst smell ever !!!!!

  • mike

    I have read this entire thread and no one has mentioned that the products of cigarette combustion – smoke and ash – contains nicotine (among other substances), so exposure to is results in a dosing of nicotine. As a non-smoker your sensitivity is much higher so even a small dose can have a strong effect. I should have the right not to be drugged against my will in my home. Also cigarette combustion products are extremely contaminating to clothes, furniture, equipment – basically everything – this is a form of property damage, and I am pretty sure people have successfully sued for it. It’s a shame the laws are so far behind on this and it’s so difficult to deal with smokers. The moral is landlords should be very careful about who they rent to and try and determine if a prospective tenant is a smoker and if so – tell them to #$@%S off!

  • Strawberry

    These comments are fucking hilarious. I was reading this article and then expecting some kind of quiet and reasonable discussion below but instead we have a bunch of (what I assume are) adults calling each other bitches and warning us about the wrath of God, hilarious. Just reading through these comments is a wild ride.

    This article was helpful. I live in Ontario in a basement apartment for the past 3 years and smoke Marijuana on a daily basis. It’s a very small building with only two units above ours. When we moved in we would occasionally smell marijuana in the hallways that we knew wasn’t from us so it seemed pretty laid back, the landlord who was super chill also lived there at the time too. I always tried my best to cover the smoke just to be respectful to the other people living there but if the hall accidentally smelled like weed it clearly wasn’t a big deal.

    My problem is now this: My super chill landlord has recently sold the building and the top tenant moved out as well. So starting this month we got two brand new tenants and a new landlord, both are young families so I’m not exactly sure how down they would be with this. I try to be very discrete. I only smoke in the bedroom which has no vents and is far from the hallway, always blowing the smoke through scented filters, towels under the door, lighting incense and whatnot, but today my boyfriend came home and told me the hallway smelled like weed a little, even though I was so careful!

    I smoke on a daily basis for anxiety and helping me with sleep (I’m also an honor roll College student who works in a professional office job in case anyone is wondering). I don’t have a medical card but I’ve been considering it lately just to help if I ever did get busted, but I’m torn between going through the whole process or just waiting for the legalization Trudeau is planning to kick in.

    Our lease does say non-smoking but most of the time I actually vape which causes no property damage (but it can still stink up the place). So I’ve been a little paranoid with what kind of action the new landlord could take if they so wanted. Can they evict you for simply smelling illegal drugs? How would they even prove something like that if you tried to fight it in court? Am I covered by the “smoker rights” with something that’s technically not legal in the first place? I just want to be able to smoke my weed in peace without being paranoid the new landlord is going to body-slam me with an eviction notice at any given moment.

    PS: Rachelle you are very helpful and I’m sorry you have to deal with so many idiots in these comments. My favourite one is the girl who actually asked you to consider visiting a mental health specialist simply because you are giving accurate unbiased information instead of just telling people what they want to hear.

    • Rachelle

      Hi Strawberry,

      I think depending on what happens you should probably smoke outside. That’s kind of the way of the world now. I remember when banks had ashtrays in the lines. I smoked cigarettes myself for many years. I’m not actually an anti-smoker, I honestly don’t mind if people smoke or not, it’s their body and I personally quit smoking when I started to hack up black crap every day.

      Smoking outside is both legal and won’t stink up your house and other tenant’s houses. Course it’s really cold out now. By all means get your medical card, you never know when you can get a bunch of idiots in government and they start arresting people again.

  • Nicholas

    Hello all,

    Here is a whole list of LTB case summaries regarding the smoking issue, and many of them favour the landlord. There are ways to get a favourable outcome, take a look: http://smokefreehousingon.ca/landlords/laws-legal-issues/case-law-summaries/landlord-applications-policy/

    • Rachelle

      I read them and the law is not quite there yet, from my perspective the landlord should not spend thousands on legal fees without some relative assurance they will be successful. I must say we are heading in that direction with some enforcement of the non smoking clause in the leases.

  • DeborrahWynne

    .Non smokers have the right of way here so to speak. Its a clear cut issue. The truth hurts and I get that, but its the facts. If you need this drug then you have an unhealthy addiction and you are forcing others to partake unwillingly.
    The only “Smoke Show” here on this long thread is to state that smoking is a smell issue. It is not.
    Smoking is a breathing issue.
    Carcinogens that are known to cause severe health conditions by way of second hand smoke.
    These carcinogens do not need to be seen or smelt to find their way into the lungs of unassuming youth or non smokers.
    While Fresh air, water & safe shelter ought to be the rights of all human beings…sadly it is threatened by a myriad of pollutants.
    No one is except from their foot print where this issue is concerned.
    But….that doesn’t mean we feed the beast.
    In our little corner of the world everyone has the chance & choice to be extremely aware that their behaviour has great impact.
    It may feel good to bitch slap the world with an I don’t give a crap….who hasn’t felt that way?
    I guess you have to ask yourself if you have the inner strength to CARE. Do you? Can you? Yes it hurts to care, but it hurts others if you don’t.

    Truth is, I may die from second hand smoke….or at least someone a know will, but at least I will die CARING…and that’s a hurt we ought to all be trying harder at

    • Rachelle

      Actually this whole blog is not about “caring” it’s about how landlords can or cannot evict tenants or how to deal with smokers (who also need caring) in the context of the landlord relationship. That is all.

      I care for all my tenants, and I’m stuck between conflicting rights. The original rights of the smokers to smoke & the rights of non smokers to not be exposed to smoke.

      The next problem is enforcement, all my leases have a non smoking clause. What do I do if the tenant smokes anyway? If I go to the Landlord & Tenant Board, will I be able to evict that tenant who is breaking the rules and exposing the other tenants to smoke? How do I prove that the tenant was smoking? What if the tenant denies smoking at the Landlord & Tenant Board? What if the other tenants don’t testify? These are all substantive issues.

      I’m not a mean person who doesn’t care, I want to follow the route to solving the problem which involves more than feelings. It involves documentation, testimony from other tenants, and thousands of dollars in legal fees. If after I do all that, the other tenants who don’t want smoking can still sue me for damages.

      I can’t imagine a landlord in this world who would like to have a smoker in their place. You have to paint and there are problems with smoke infiltration to other units and now people don’t even want other people to smoke on their balcony lest a tiniest puff waft over their direction.

  • DeborrahWynne

    While I fully understand your predicament.
    None of my comments are directed at you.
    As for “This Blog”…this blog becomes what it becomes…it evolves and devolves, depending upon those who comment & regardless of what it was initially about.
    But base line …the main topic of this blog does come down ‘in part’ to what I mentioned above.

    Its a nowhere argument that can go on and on(maybe that’s what drives a blog)…however again…smokers are equal to non smokers, as people/humans only.
    There are people who carry guns, knives, smoke crack, drive recklessly, spray chemicals, flush tampons and so on and so forth etc.
    These are some bad behaviours & habits that put others at risk and therefore create an imbalance. This throws off the EQUALITY meter.
    Because of this… non smokers are at a disadvantage, when in actuality they ought to have the louder voice where it concerns safer air quality.

    At any rate people often do not care to play fair.
    I can tell you first hand, that the tenant court is a crap shoot.
    The Toronto Landlord & Tenant Court is A great way to “attempt” (with pain staking preparation) to exercise what is good and right, but it is wishy washy & garners disappointing blows to those hoping for what is good and right.
    Smoke free air ought to be the achievable goal so the courts should always uphold their decisions based upon this ideology.
    Whether the entire process is worth the fight or costs involved…. I’d say…likely not.
    Which brings me back to my prior statement.
    Quality of life everywhere is taking a beating.
    But there is a code of conduct that respects that we enjoy our freedom up to and as long as, it does not directly or negatively affect someone.

    Ideally we ought all to take greater measures to lesson our foot print upon others, the earth and in our little corner of it.

    I love plenty of smokers but loath how their habit is so intrusive.
    I’m all for freedom to choose all that’s out there, so long as the consequences do not affect innocent parties.
    Until the laws are concise in this matter, this battle will continue in its support of both sides and thus neither side.
    So long as there continues to be perverse support of behaviour that causes harm to others, then you’ll need more than just proof of the behaviour, and that’s any buddies ballgame! It is apart of what’s wrong in society.
    Being a landlord is already difficult enough but the roots of this problem are well laid in contradiction.

    My advice would be… do your best, it’s a near impossible fight. Be truthful and again, do your best.
    You have little power to solve it, and you don’t get paid to perform spy maneuvers.
    As a landlord you can make problem tenants uncomfortable if they are creating problems for others, in whatever capacity that may be.
    Otherwise this debate as stated is problematic because smokers have been given rights that upset the applecart.

  • DeborrahWynne

    When I stated we could all try harder to care even if it hurts… My point was this.
    This issue of smoking in apartments will only be resolved if the law is tough on it.
    Otherwise its a time and energy consuming, self perpetuating issue, not really designed for resolve.

    But that doesn’t change what ought to be fair and right… Smoke free apartment buildings, enforceable by law.
    That would make your job slightly less problematic.
    I’ve ‘cared’ about this issue for a long long time, even though I’m pretty sure that’s all I’m going to be able to do about it.
    Like many unjust issues…its painful, disturbing, & frustrating when the perpetrating side gains an advantage.
    But cigarettes get less of my energies these days. Now that my place reaks of skunk from those 420peeps…cigarette smoke has taken the back burner, if you’ll excuse the pun
    I’m hopeful & I care. That may be all I can do until it is realized that this isn’t an allergy issue affecting few, but a carcinogenic particulate issue affecting thousands.
    In the meantime, Its important to Care about the problem and do your best.