Can tenant break lease because of neighbor smoking?


Chris: I rent an apartment in Lake Mary. I looked at their website, there was nothing in their website that said they allowed smoking. When I went to their office, nobody was smoking, the rental office.

Attorney Tom Olsen: All right.

Chris: I took a tour of the place, I never saw anyone smoking.

Attorney Tom Olsen: All right.

Chris: There’s nothing in the lease that said that people are allowed to smoke. When I moved into the apartment, I found out the guy below me, he’s retired, he smokes all the time. Sometimes he gets up at two, one time--

Attorney Tom Olsen: Hey, hey. Chris. I get it. It’s uncomfortable and nasty, I agree. So Chris, you’re saying that you-- is this the basis for you to break your lease and move out of there?

Chris: I already moved out and they’re suing me for I didn’t pay four months’ rent in advance.

Attorney Tom Olsen: All right. So Chris, they may or may not be successful but Chris, I do want to say this. That when you are a tenant, and there is a problem, you have an obligation to give your landlord what’s called a seven day notice to cure. You have to give your landlord seven days to fix that problem, and at the end of that seven days, then you can go.

So, you didn’t gave them the proper notice here, so that automatically makes you wrong. But the real question, and I would love to ask Rob this question, is: would the fact that Chris smells cigarette smoke from another tenant’s apartment, would that be a basis to break the lease? I’d like to think it would be.

Chrissy: It possibly that it interferes with his ability to enjoy his--

Attorney Tom Olsen:  Yes, that’s right. Actually, thank you for reminding me that. Because when you look at a typical lease, it says that the tenant has the reasonable use and enjoyment of the piece of property. I’ll tell you what, I couldn’t enjoy living somewhere where I smell somebody else’s cigarette smoke, no way.