What to do if my neighbor burns the roots of plants in his religious practices and the strong smell comes through the walls into my apartment?

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What to do if my neighbor burns the roots of plants in his religious practices and the strong smell comes through the walls into my apartment?

I live in an apartment building with neighbors who burn roots in their religious practices. I have no problem with their religion but the smell from the burning roots is nauseating and it fills the hallways outside of my door and seeps through the walls into my apartment. I am forced to live with this terrible smell daily. All I want is clear air in my apartment and to not have to walk through a smoke filled hallway to enter my home. I have contacted the rental office and the local police and complained but they have said nothing can be done.

Asked on May 30, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In every lease, there is a covenant of quiet enjoyment which is that a tenant cannot be disturbed in his/her use and enjoyment of the premises.  You could sue the landlord for breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment for not taking action against the tenant burning the roots which pollutes your apartment.

You may also have a potential argument for breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  This requires that the landlord maintain the premises in a habitable condition in compliance with local and state housing codes.  You could argue that the burning roots are a health and safety issue.  The health issue being the fumes and the safety issue being a fire hazard.  A breach of the  implied warranty of habitability requires the landlord to take corrective action after being given notice.  If the landlord fails to remedy a breach of the implied warranty of habitability within a reasonable time, the tenant can move out and terminate his/her obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term of the lease or if you to decide to stay, withhold rent and defend against eviction.


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