The District of Columbia has no law addressing smokefree housing – the smokefree law pertains only to indoor public spaces. If you are having problems with cigarette smoke drifting into your unit, here are several things you can do:
- Talk to the smoker and ask them to smoke outside. It may sound naive, but sometimes it works.
- Check the rules that govern your condo or apartment. Many have “nuisance” clauses that prohibit residents from creating nuisances.
- Lodge a complaint with your management association or condo board.
- Contact an attorney. You may have a nuisance claim.
- Start a petition drive to make your building smokefree. You can direct the petition either to the apartment management company or your condo board. It is legal and within the condo board’s power to make the building smokefree.
Are you looking for smokefree rental housing? Check out this site, which enables users to filter for such things as smokefree buildings, pet-friendly buildings, etc. Note, however, that sometimes units are listed as smokefree but the whole building might not be smokefree. You’ll need to call and check: http://www.showmetherent.com/
There is a movement in other areas of the country (and world) toward promoting smokefree housing. A really good resource is Americans for Non-Smokers Rights. You’ll find a lot of good information on the organization’s “In Your Home” page. They also have other informational pages:
- For landlords and management companies
- For people who live in apartments and condos
- A guide for owners and managers