If you are suffering from second-hand smoke seeping into your home from neighbouring units, you are not alone.

Surveys show that roughly one-third of people living in multi-unit housing has experienced second-hand smoke infiltrating their homes. Many people never lodge formal complaints, as they feel that nothing can be done. However, landlords have a responsibility to address complaints of second-hand smoke if there is evidence that the smoke is seriously disturbing the reasonable enjoyment of other tenants.

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When Neighbours Smoke: A Tenant’s Guide

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In this section we offer some suggestions for addressing the problem of second-hand smoke in your home.

Document the problem

Without sufficient documentation and evidence, it can be challenging to prove that the second-hand smoke infiltrating your home is an “unreasonable” disturbance that has resulted in a loss of your reasonable enjoyment. The mere presence of smoke is not sufficient; infiltration must be frequent, ongoing and must be significantly interfering with the normal use and enjoyment of your home. Documenting and collecting evidence to prove your claim is vital. Read more…

Minimize the problem

The best solution for protecting yourself and your family from exposure to second-hand smoke is to live in a 100% smoke-free building. However, given the lack of available smoke-free rental accommodations in Ontario, this is not always possible. This section offers some steps you can take on your own to minimize or eliminate the smoke from entering your home. Read more…

Negotiate solutions

If your efforts to abolish the smoke from your home are unsuccessful, we recommend that you work with your landlord to negotiate a solution. This section offers some tips for working with your landlord to resolve the problem of smoke infiltrating your home. Read more…

If you’ve tried to reduce or eliminate your exposure to second-hand smoke by sealing your unit, talking to your neighbour and/or landlord about the problem, but you’re still being smoked out, perhaps it’s time to take more drastic action.

Ask to break your lease without penalty

If you’ve had it with the smoke and you just want to get out of your apartment, consider asking your landlord to break the lease without penalty. Read More…

Apply to the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board


If you’ve taken all steps possible to try and resolve the problem of smoke infiltrating your home, and you are not satisfied that the landlord has taken reasonable steps to correct it, you have the option of applying to the Landlord and Tenant Board for adjudication. Read More…

Apply to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario


If you have a disability or a health condition being made worse by exposure to second-hand smoke in your rental apartment, you may have grounds to apply to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Read More…

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