Smokefree DC is a citizen-based group whose goal is to promote smokefree environments in Washington, DC.

New York judge sides with nonsmoking tenant in lease dispute

Here’s a case that apartment management companies everywhere should pay attention to: A judge in Nassau County, N.Y., ruled that a nonsmoking tenant should be permitted to break her lease and pay reduced rent because her complaints about a smoking neighbor were not addressed.

The company had sued the tenant for $12,000 in unpaid rent. Here’s what the judge said, according to a story on Crain’s new york business.com:

When a tenant’s smoking results in an intrusion of secondhand smoke into another tenant’s apartment, and that tenant complains repeatedly, the landlord runs a financial risk if it fails to take appropriate action. … The landlord’s failure to take appropriate action, over a period of several months, to rectify a secondhand-smoke nuisance, justifies rent abatement, and excuses the tenant from any obligation to pay rent after her constructive eviction.

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