As a tenant, you have the option of trying to negotiate a smoke-free solution with your landlord. Below is information on notifying your landlord, working with them to find a solution and discussing the adoption of a no-smoking policy.

Notify your landlord
  • Write a letter to your landlord requesting that the problem be resolved if your efforts to reduce the smoke are unsuccessful.
    • Explain the extent, frequency and impact of the problem.
    • Identify what steps you have taken to resolve the problem to date. Include any supporting evidence such as a letter from your physician concerning the impact on your health or letters from friends and neighbours to verify your claims.
    • Indicate your willingness to negotiate a resolution, and propose some potential solutions. Ask for a response by a specific date.
  • Consider sending a group letter if there are others in the building experiencing the same problem.
  • Refer your landlord to this website. The landlord section provides information about the landlord’s responsibility to address complaints of second-hand smoke, as well as suggested steps to rectify the problem.
Work with your landlord to negotiate solutions

It is always a good idea to indicate what you would like to happen to solve the problem. You may have an idea that the landlord has not considered, so offer some suggestions. Ask your landlord to consider potential solutions such as:

Conducting repairs to the unit to seal off the smoke

  • Install door sweeps and weather stripping around windows;
  • Fill or patch cracks in walls and ceilings;
  • Insulate the air spaces around plumbing pipes;
  • Insulate and place covers over electrical outlets.

Inspecting the ventilation system for proper function 

  • Clean, change or install new filters in the ventilation system;
  • Add more fresh air intake into the ventilation system (the system may be on a timer);
  • Restrict the amount of air exhausted through the ventilation system from units where there is smoking.

Working with the smoking tenant to negotiate a solution 

  • Request that the smoking tenant stop smoking in specified areas where the smoke can enter your unit, or only smoke during specified times of the day, or only smoke in designated outside areas;
  • Move the smoking tenant to another unit in the building or another building owned by the landlord.

Evicting the smoking tenant if a reasonable solution cannot be reached 

  • If there is sufficient evidence that second-hand smoke is significantly interfering with the reasonable enjoyment of other tenants, this can be considered a breach of reasonable enjoyment;
  • If your landlord applies to terminate the tenancy and evict the smoking tenant, be prepared to support the landlord at the Landlord and Tenant Board if the tenant disputes the application.

Moving you to another unit or building 

  • If applicable, ask your landlord to move you to another unit in the building–at no cost to you–with no adjacent smoking neighbours;
  • If the landlord owns multiple buildings, ask to be moved to another building. For multi-storey buildings, air quality is typically better lower to the ground, and on the windward side.
Talk to your landlord about adopting a no-smoking policy
  • No-smoking policies are legal and have many benefits for landlords and tenants, including less damage to units, cheaper turnover costs, lower risk of fire, and fewer complaints about second-hand smoke;
  • Provide your landlord with A Landlord & Property Manager’s Guide to Smoke-Free Housing;
  • Refer your landlord to this website. The landlord section includes steps on how to adopt a no-smoking policy, as well as legal information and market research.
Advocate for more smoke-free options in the multi-housing sector
  • Write a letter to the editor of your newspaper about how you are being involuntarily exposed to second-hand smoke in your own home. There is a definite need for more awareness and public education on this issue.
  • Contact tenants’ rights organization and tell them about second-hand smoke infiltration in multi-unit dwellings. They should be advocating right along side you.
  • Talk to future landlords about the need for more smoke-free accommodations–they need to know there is strong demand for smoke-free housing.
  • Lobby city council for a resolution to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke in multi-unit dwellings.

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