Neighbor is destroying our property by chain smoking with the windows rolled up. We breathe her second hand smoke daily. Do we have legal recourse?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Neighbor is destroying our property by chain smoking with the windows rolled up. We breathe her second hand smoke daily. Do we have legal recourse?

We live in suffolk county NY in a condo complex, a co-op community.
Recently e had a new neighbor move in. She is the daughter of the
shareholder and owner of the unit. The owner of the unit has never
lived there. This person is a chronic smoker and drinker. She has
been smoking indoors for about a year now and our home is starting
to smell like stale smoke. At times , about 2-3 days a week, we can
smell fresh smoke in our bathroom. The smell seeping from her home
into ours is beyond repulsive and is affecting my wifes health.

We contacted the co-op board and they have done nothing but put
us off with promises of a resolution. We have personally asked our
neighbor 3 times to do something about it, one time she laughed as if
it as funny, once she asserted her right to smoke inside and thats
why her mother purchased the unit for her and the last time she
confronted us on her own, loudly complaining about the emails we
were sending to the co-op board.

Nobody is doing anything. The co-op board doesnt seem to care, the
neighbor knows she is damaging our property and refuses to stop,
even though she has an attached deck to her unit. Meanwhile, our
linen closet reeks of years old stale smoke, our bathroom frequently
smells like an ash tray and it’s getting worse.

What can we do?

Asked on April 21, 2017 under Real Estate Law, New York


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can sue your neighbor for nuisance which is an unreasonable interference with the use or enjoyment of your property.
Damages (monetary compensation in a lawsuit for nuisance) are an inadequate remedy because of multiplicity of suits due to your neighbor's continuous smoking.  Damages are also an inadequate remedy because land is unique.
Since damages are inadequate, your remedy is an injunction to attempt to stop the damage to your property and health from the smoking.  A court will balance the hardship to you versus the neighbor's right to smoke in her residence in order to determine whether an injunction should be granted.
Are there any applicable local ordinances which ban smoking  and protect the rights of neighbors who are non-smokers? If so, you can use the violation of the applicable ordinance in support of an injunction.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption