Live in smoke allowed building neighbor complaining

pavaughnOctober 7, 2007

I moved 6 weeks ago into a complex that allows smoking, nothing in lease re smoking except that it is "discouraged". Managment knows I smoke, and also that I have tried to quit. Live in San Diego county. My neighbor upstairs has complained to the manager and come to my door twice, knocking then ringing the bell. I did not answer the door the 2nd time. I am a nervous wreck already; he and his son are very noisy above me and I can't sleep and left work twice last week due to anxiety attacks. I feel I am being harassed by him in my face regarding something that is not in the rules. I don't know where he gets off trying to make me do something that is not in the lease. I cannot live in this discord, and am going to move. I will lose my $1000 deposit, and have to bear the expense of moving again. I am furious, but so wiped out, I don't know what to do but move out. I feel like getting a restraining order against him, but again, I can't stand the fighting. I have two chronic illnesses that are now worse from the stress and I have moved into anxiety attacks. I can't even have peace in my own 700 sq. foot $1200 a month apt. I am moving to Wyoming....

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BTW, I cannot smoke outside, it disturbs him and brought on the first complaints when I smoked on my patio; I bought a $125 air purifier and do not open my windows. I have tried all I know to be considerate. I live below this guy and I guess the smoke flows upwards.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 2:05PM
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You 'cannot' smoke OUTside because it disturbs HIM? When did the smoke police decide you can't smoke outside? So let him be disturbed - you sound like you need to get a grip and assert yourself a little (whether or not anyone else agrees about smoking). No one can legislate the air outside apart from businesses asking you not to smoke right outside their doors for reasons other than personally being disturbed. Why should you move - get an injunction against him for harrassment or something and ask the landlord to tell him to mind his own business as your lease is every bit as valid as his!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 5:46PM
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It would help to know what state and municipality pavaughn lives in. Some states DO have smoking restictions that are that stringent. Pavaughn may be breaking a rule or law where he lives.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 2:59AM
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I live in Carlsbad, in San Diego county. There is no law prohibiting my smoking in my apt. or outside my apt, in the city or in my lease. Last night (9:30 p.m.) his son started dribbling his basketball above me, so I went on the patio and had a cigarette. The father came rushing downstairs to my door and started pounding with his fist and scared me-I did not open the door and began shaking and ultimately snuck out and went for a drive. I did call management and said if he comes to my door again I will call the police. I am not a good fighter and do not cope well with an angry man in my face. This is a nightmare. I am 55 years old and just need some peace and quiet after caring for my mom with terminal cancer; I never expected this, nor have I ever had a problem with anyone in any aspect of my life.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 11:49AM
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You need to follow through with calling the police and perhaps get a protective order if you fear his presence. That should at least keep him away from your door. I would NOT absorb a $1000 loss because of this guy.

PS I am a non-smoker. Ten years now.......

    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 1:23AM
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pavaughn, I'm sorry about your mom. Went through that with my dad, it's rough, I know. Time does heal some of the pain ;)

I'm looking at this from a landlord's perspective. If it's not spelled out clearly in your lease, i.e. "This is a non-smoking building, smoking anywhere on or in the premises is prohibited" then you are not in violation of your lease. You have also stated you are not in violation of any local or city ordinance while outside. If your upstairs neighbor so vehemently objects to smoke, he needs to be in a building that is clearly defined as a non-smoking building. Seems he took a chance and rolled that dice when he signed on. Also, it doesn't matter if you are violating a rule or not, no one has the right to handle it by pounding on your door with their fists. If someone showed up at my front door behaving that way, for whatever the reason, I would be scared too and yes, after repeated incidents I would call the police. Don't even mention the smoking, it's not relevant. It's how he's behaving that is relevant. Tell them he's hitting your front door with his fists and you're frightened of him. He cannot pound on your door, no matter what's he's ticked about. (Were you in a house, he could be charged with trespassing and harassment for doing that. I do not see how the front door of an apartment unit is any different.) Also, from the standpoint of your lease, you have the right to quiet enjoyment of your place, this guy is clearly violating that.

In order to create a 'paper trail' I'd encourage you to send a written note to your landlord, certified (so it has to be signed for). Without temper or threats, s/he is human too and no one likes to be threatened that they better take action 'or else'. It puts them on the defensive and sometimes can boomerang. Clearly and calmly spell it out like you did here: you understand your lease does not forbid smoking, you keep to yourself, yet this man upstairs is repeatedly pounding on your front door with his fists even when you stand on your own patio, and you are frightened. Let your landlord know that as a single woman living alone your fear has escalated to the point you feel threatened, that you are afraid to open the door because there is an angry man using his fists on the other side, and you feel you have no recourse but to call the police if Mr. ____ upstairs does not stop harassing and intimidating you. (Be sure to use those two words).

Now there might not be much the landlord can do. Were it me, I'd go talk to the guy for sure and tell him knock it off. Not only because he's intimidating you, he's running the risk of damaging my property and that tends to make a landlord very unhappy ;) But sometimes tenants just don't listen to landlords. Also, as a landlord I can't cite a broken clause in a lease (including breaking local laws) if I've got no evidence that clause was being broken. In some situations (such as civil laws being broken, etc.) I need tangible evidence from law enforcement that a law has been broken so I have recourse. If the neighbor upstairs doesn't respond to a warning from your landlord, then landlord is going to be in a situation where he needs a police report before he can go further. Just suggesting you try to see it from a landlord's perspective as well ;)

I truly understand how you're feeling after your mother's illness and the subsequent loss. Probably beaten to an emotional pulp. This guy sounds like a bully who's sonar is probably picking up on that. As very difficult as it is for you to muster more strength at this point, I hope you won't let him run you out of your own home. Based on what you've described here, you've done nothing wrong and it's the man upstairs that needs reigned in. I hope things get better for you, all the way around. This is a stage in your life when you need some 'down' time, and I hope you find it. ;)

    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 7:54AM
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You're an angel. Thank you so much. I haven't left my apt. in three days now, I am afraid I am going to run into him. My landlord is a wonderful woman and will handle this. I am leaving, leaving this apt. and leaving this state. I am going back to Wyoming. I need R and R and just can't find it here.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 1:00PM
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smoking is allowed and you smoke, and the guy near you dont like it. well tuff, i`d start smoking huge stinking cigars, one after the other, while burning incense. when he knocks on your door, make sure you exhale when answering it.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 9:32PM
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LOL. Thanks! When I smoked a cig on my patio, he flipped out and that's when he started pounding with his fists on my door. Fool--the manager lives next door and heard him. AND she has never smelled smoke either. There is some fairness on this earth: she told him he should move if he doesn't like it, and is considering evicting him for his behavior anyway. I am out of my lease and getting my deposit back. I can't believe something finally worked out fair. I've had horrific landlords, three the last 10 years, and it's been something else. I am still moving to Wyoming and I am going to rent a nice little house for less than 1/2 the rent for this stupid apt., and NO NEIGHBORS. I had no idea renting could be so horrible and I am glad there are people working for tenant's rights. The last one I lived in turned out to be illegal and I couldn't believe anyone could do that. I could have been evicted by the city at any time, and here I am, single, 55 and sick half the time with fibromyalgia and chronic fatique. Basically, just trying to make it to work every day. Really hard to deal with the stress, when all I want is a quiet, half-way decent place to live. And I pay top dollar here in San Diego. The apt. owner before didn't spend one penny on maintenance for 7 years, and after living with duct-taped carpet for 2 years, and a $135 rent increase, I moved. This was at $1100 a month. I have been shocked at how awful people can be. I will be VERY wary next time :) Again, I am so pleased to regain a little belief in the goodness of man, due to my present manager's actions. I was really beginning to wonder if everyone had just gone bad. So won't be like this in Wyoming. Lived there for 8 years, and the people were wonderful. Still, I will be wary LOL. I only have a drop of trust left.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 10:39PM
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