Apartment living has its advantages. It is often more affordable without the worry of expensive repairs and Toronto property taxes. On the other hand, even if one is a sociable person, living in close proximity to one's neighbours often requires patience and tolerance. Among the many landlord and tenant issues for which a tenant may have little tolerance is the problem of a neighbour's second-hand smoke.
Ontario law forbids smoking in common areas of apartment buildings such as elevators, laundry rooms and community rooms. Unless a lease stipulates otherwise, tenants may smoke in the privacy of their own apartment units. Conflicts arise when a smoker's cigarette smoke seeps into a neighbour's apartment, interfering with the neighbour's ability to reasonably enjoy the comfort of his or her home.
A tenant's first step in resolving this issue is to bring it to the attention of the landlord. Second-hand smoke, after all, is a health hazard, especially if one has allergies or breathing issues. The odour may also be a nuisance. The landlord has a duty to address the issue and find a solution, including going as far as evicting the offending tenant. However, if the landlord is unable to rectify the problem, the aggrieved tenant may turn to the Landlord and Tenant Board.
Landlords often have a delicate line to walk when balancing the right of one tenant to smoke with another tenant's right to a smoke-free apartment. These landlord and tenant issues can quickly become legal disputes. Therefore, a Toronto landlord may wish to seek legal advice as early as possible in a disagreement between tenants.