Are there grounds to break a lease due to multiple smoking neighbors in a non-smoking complex?

UPDATED: Dec 5, 2011

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Are there grounds to break a lease due to multiple smoking neighbors in a non-smoking complex?

Multiple neighbors smoke indoors. This is a non-smoking complex. They smoke in their homes as well as the hallway and laundry room. My children are becoming sick and one has developed asthma since moving here in March. One set of neighbors live directly below us and the smoke seeps up where my children sleep. In the past month I’ve been to the emergency room for breathing difficulties in both children and persistent cough, they were sent home with inhalers. My daughter has also had to use a nebulizer. I’m also concerned for my health being 8 months pregnant as it is causing regular headaches.

Asked on December 5, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It may be grounds for breaking your lease:

1) If the lease actually indicates that this is a non-smoking complex, there may be a material breach of lease, which could support termination of the lease;

2) If it was represented to you, prior to you signing the lease, that the complex was non-smoking, and that was a factor in you deciding to rent there, then that may constitute a material misrepresentation which would entitle you to rescind the lease and leave; and

3) It may be that the heavy smoking constitutes a breach of your right to quiet enjoyment, which could give you a cause  of action against the landlord.

Since terminating a lease incorrectly can result in you being liable for the full remaining balance of the lease term, it is recommended you consult with an attorney about your situation in detail before doing anything; it appears you may have rights, but  you want to make sure you seek to vindicate them in the correct way.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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