To want something done about next door's cigarette smoke smell in my house?

(70 Posts)
TastyMuffins Tue 19-Jul-11 23:51:53

I own my own terraced house, one of the adjoining houses is privately let and the new tenants are smokers, when they smoke in the house the smell comes up through the floorboards.

I have lived here for over ten years and both houses have had major renovations including victorian hearths removed and new rear extensions. I believe removal of a hearth on either or our side or theirs has left a gap under the houses which causes the problem. The smell is worst in my bathroom and living room where the hearth used to be. The new tenants moved in a couple of weeks ago.

Am I being unreasonable to expect the landlord of the neighbouring house to sort out this hole to stop the smell coming through? Should I speak to the tenants? I guess it is unreasonable to ask them not to smoke in their kitchen (which seems to be where the smell comes from).

worraliberty Tue 19-Jul-11 23:53:31

Oh for fuck sake by some air freshener!

Would you be this anal if they cooked curry and your didn't like the smell of that either? hmm

GypsyMoth Tue 19-Jul-11 23:55:31

You 'believe' a hole is the culprit. Your grate was removed also so why can't you get it looked at and fixed?

GypsyMoth Tue 19-Jul-11 23:56:18

Hearth not grate. Just get someone in to zealot?

But it prob won't solve it

Nanny0gg Tue 19-Jul-11 23:56:39

I would.
Why is it anal to not want unpleasant smells in your house?
I'd try and have a word and see if there is a solution.

MillyR Tue 19-Jul-11 23:57:17

i don't think they are more responsible for the hearth issue than you are. Could you not fix the hearth on your side? I would be more concerned about the vermin risk or a fire risk if smoke is getting through between houses. It is dangerous in a fire if smoke can get through upstairs floorboards in one house, let alone pass through into an adjacent property. The cigarette smoke is the least of your problems.

suzikettles Tue 19-Jul-11 23:57:37

I get this too. I think it comes through old fireplaces that are now cupboard running the full height of our tenement flats.

I only really notice when I go to my mum's for the weekend and realise that all the clothes I've brought with me smell slightly stale from the smoke.

There's nothing you can do and I don't think you can reasonably ask the landlord to do anything either. If you can find any likely gaps then you could try sealing them, but the nature of smoke is that it will seep through floorboards or the smallest gaps.

Rude as worraliberty was, she's right. Try an airfreshner or one of those plug in ionisers that's meant to take away the smell of tobacco smoke.

I sympathise though. It's pretty unpleasant.

nightowlmostly Tue 19-Jul-11 23:59:01

My house used to let through a lot of cooking smells from next door, and it was curry, funnily enough!

We did a bit of work in the house and it stopped coming through, maybe just a vent or something?

I'm sure its fixable, but to be fair I'd have the hump as well!

worraliberty Tue 19-Jul-11 23:59:11

Because terraced houses will always get smells from nextdoor

Dear god, I sometimes wonder what the hell my neighbours cook..but the smell goes straight into my conservatory. I simply spray air freshener and dream of winning the lottery.

ChuckYouFarlie Wed 20-Jul-11 00:01:00

I sympathise too. Smell from a downstairs smoker wafts up to my kitchen and is disgusting sad. Means I have to keep kitchen doors (lovely french ones) closed most of the time.

Nowt you can do...

aseriouslyblondemoment Wed 20-Jul-11 00:03:46

having lived in a victorian terrace myself i'm struggling to see how this has happened tbh.
esp as most have been modernised and extended.
op did you have a full survey prior to buying your house?

HowlingBitch Wed 20-Jul-11 00:05:43

<Puffs a cigar> Eh?

was this thread not done some time ago not a lot you can do about it until smoking is banned from your own home as well sad

TastyMuffins Wed 20-Jul-11 00:07:34

I certainly won't be buying air freshner and would/did have the same problem when it was food smells. I rarely get food smells now but have had with previous tenants, that is not near as bad.

I have stripped floor boards so their are small gaps, next door also has stripped floor boards in the kitchen - actually worst smell was when they were varnished!

The problem is not an obviously visible gap but something under the houses in the middle which is where the hearths were. If I could see or access a gap, I could attempt to fill it.

I meant thier home not yours by the way

garlicbutter Wed 20-Jul-11 00:13:45

Fill the gaps in the floorboards, you nutter! You can't complain of seeping pongs when you've got holey floors. It'll also improve heat retention. You do it with sawdust and glue, the instructions are all over the internet.

I bet you've left gaps by the skirtings, too. Go on, you have, haven't you grin

AmaraDresden Wed 20-Jul-11 00:15:18

It's their home, are you saying you'd tell them what perfume to use as well? I get that it's annoying but because they rent you seem to think you have more rights than they do. As a private tenant this annoys me deeply. Also a smoker (though I choose to smoke outside).

AmaraDresden Wed 20-Jul-11 00:15:18

It's their home, are you saying you'd tell them what perfume to use as well? I get that it's annoying but because they rent you seem to think you have more rights than they do. As a private tenant this annoys me deeply. Also a smoker (though I choose to smoke outside).

agree amara, I smoke although outside, other neighbours smoke inside, i smell it when i come out of flat but that is thier business simple as that so OP YABVU and sorry to add but where does the " i own and they are renters" come into it, chances are they are paying more in rent than you are paying mortgage. Getting bored with the renting/mortgage stuff to be honest

HowlingBitch Wed 20-Jul-11 00:21:25

I can remember sleeping next door to my brothers room and there was a HUGE gap in the skirting board. Needless to say my bed was against that wall and the stink that would seep through was awful.

I would hear the fart then brace myself (or cover my face!) Yuck.

TastyMuffins Wed 20-Jul-11 00:22:59

The gaps in the floorboards have been filled both with PVA and sawdust for the smaller ones and wooden tappets for the larger ones, these of course come and go, some have fallen out. It isn't the floorboard gaps that is the problem, it is the gap underneath the party wall that allows the smoke that goes through the floorboards to pass under and up my floorboards. Silicone sealer actually works better as it's more flexible so won't drop out.

The skirting boards are new, no gaps.

Actually I wonder why I haven't had cooking smells for years? Maybe no one has cooked for 3 years?

garlicbutter Wed 20-Jul-11 00:31:09

That makes sense about the silicone sealer - love that stuff! Thanks for the tip.
However many molecules escape from next door, they still need ingress to your house so as to bother you. Whether it's the hearth, the roof or a mousehole, there's something you haven't finished properly. Having said that, I wouldn't be as bothered about it as you ... these houses have still got the old fireplaces (non-functional) so it's like sharing, as far as sounds & smells are concerned!

You could always go round and ask if your cooking smells bother them wink
Or fart near the skirting board!

worraliberty Wed 20-Jul-11 00:32:19

Maybe you're more anal about fag smoke than cookery?

TastyMuffins Wed 20-Jul-11 00:52:30

Sorry Amara that you think I 'seem to think you have more rights than they do'. Not sure why you think that. The difference between me owning my house and them renting is that I am responsible for repairs to my house their landlord is responsible. Because the house is rented, tenants come and go more frequently than when it was owner occupied so when their are non smokers in the house I am unaware of the problem. I am also aware that I need to find the landlord to ask about the problem of the gap rather than the tenants who have just moved in and don't know the history. The tenants didn't have the hearth removed, the landlord did so they are not responsible.

They probably pay twice what I pay for my mortgage. Not sure what that has to do with it though, these are very different houses.

Not sure what the issue is over renting/mortgage.

I have never wanted to tell them what perfume to wear or what to do, daft idea. I just want to prevent their cigarette smoke transferring through the houses, I don't want to stop them smoking, that's not my job.

If my smells were reaching them, I would expect them to want me to do something about it. Same sort of reciprocal approach as noise problems.

TastyMuffins Wed 20-Jul-11 00:58:20

Garlicbutter, the silicon sealant was actually a tip from the builder working on the house nextdoor years ago (never checked if that's what he used on that house though).

My kitchen has a concrete and tiled floor so the smells don't go through that!

Both houses have very different lay outs now. Adjoining fireplaces, chimney breasts and hearths were removed when both houses were renovated separately. Their fireplace was where their kitchen is now, mine was where my bathroom and living room are now.

Personally I'd prefer fart smell over fag smell but someone would just call me anal if I said that. grin

AmaraDresden Wed 20-Jul-11 01:01:07

You stated in your OP that the hearth that was removed was either or, not that it was the landlord - why does the landlord have to solve the problem when you don't know who is responsible? it's you who is finding it a problem, so you should sort it out. Also, you probably the neighbours in some way too.

AmaraDresden Wed 20-Jul-11 01:02:54

*annoy

I should browse when half asleep!

AmaraDresden Wed 20-Jul-11 01:02:54

*annoy

I should browse when half asleep!

you have two choices really accept it or move smile simple

sorry sad just getting bored of the "i own my own house and they are just renters on hb crap" This is 2011 the majority now have to rent it is as simple as that, and just because they rent next to someone who (rents from the building society for a hundred years) owns the house they are classed as a second classed citizen. They pay thier rent like you pay your rent to your building society.

TastyMuffins Wed 20-Jul-11 08:01:47

Where does the 'they are just renters on HB' come in to the equation? Are they on Hb and would that make any difference?

The other point about the house being rented is that many landlords specify no smoking. Apparently this one doesn't.

GooseyLoosey Wed 20-Jul-11 08:08:58

Tasty - this would drive me nuts and I completely sympathise.

My friends, one of whom is a builder, recently had this problem in their house. He took up all of the floorboards to investigate what was underneath them - filled the gaps and put them back.

There is no way I could live with this. Have you thought of approaching the Landlord and offering to pay 50:50 for any work needed to solve the problem?

I would absolutely have to get this sorted.

BornInAfrica Wed 20-Jul-11 08:09:04

Good for the landlord then and ffs stop policing what other people do in their own homes. Buy some air freshener like worra said - or some scented candles - or open some windows or even better start smoking - that'll fuck your sense of smell and bingo! Problem solved!

TheProvincialLady Wed 20-Jul-11 08:11:22

Get the floorboards up and mortar the holes that are under there. We had a similar problem and when we investigated there were lots of holes in the mortaring that led straight through to next door (we could see their lights on). The problem stopped and it helped with noise too.

microserf Wed 20-Jul-11 09:24:28

i think the posters have been quite tough on you. this would annoy the hell out of me.

first, you need to do some self help and seal up the gaps you are aware of. if the problem still continues, then i think it is reasonable to ask the landlord to work together with you to find out if there is another problem.

i'm surprised a private landlord allows smoking in the house tbh. he may not know they are doing it.

ShoutyHamster Wed 20-Jul-11 09:25:43

Sorry, it would drive me ABSOLUTELY NUTS too. I would probably be asking a builder/joiner for some advice - yes, the landlord could be approached but to be fair I'd think that it was a 'no-one's fault' kind of problem and as I was the one it was bothering I'd just take it upon myself to sort out. Also then you KNOW you will really (hopefully) be getting it sorted <control freak> grin

It may not be too difficult to sort. I'd ask for some advice - you'd probably take up some floorboards but I'd think it was worth it. You'll always get this happening unless you sort it.

You could ask your neighbours where they smoke - but make sure you couch it as 'the smoke is coming through - I plan to get a joiner in as there is a gap somehwere, could I ask you where you smoke the most in the rooms adjoining our house' - so you're not being arsey, but you might find find that they are lovely and instantly agree to smoke only in rooms not against yours. ;)

newmum001 Wed 20-Jul-11 09:36:23

To be honest I think your fighting a losing battle. Get your house checked by all means but the landlord would have had to have his house completely checked to make sure it was suitable for tennants therefore it doesn't sound like the problem is next door! IMO you'd be very unreasonable to speak to the tennants and I'd think twice about speaking to the landlord as it'd look like you were making a complaint about his tennants and they haven't done anything wrong. I think you need to buy some air freshner and get over it!

valiumredhead Wed 20-Jul-11 09:37:31

Would drive me nuts too - smokers don't realise just how strong the smell is.

My former neighbour(2 doors away) used to stand on his drive to smoke and it used to waft into our front room if we had the window open urghhhh. Nothing I could do apart from making sure the window was always closed and he moved recently so that's sorted! grin

You can buy plug in anti tobacco fresheners that might help?

Punkatheart Wed 20-Jul-11 09:41:02

If you are a non-smoker, the smell of smoke can be foul. I am asthmatic too, so it would affect me badly. It shouldn't happen that you experience other people's whiffs.

stupefy Wed 20-Jul-11 09:46:09

It's not only the smell is it. Cigarette smoke is carcinogenic.

I'd be pissed right off if I was breathing in my neighbours cancer causing chemicals on a daily basis.. nothing anal about that!

If it's a rented property they are probably not supposed to smoke in it anyway. Report their stinking arses.

wompoopigeon Wed 20-Jul-11 09:48:55

Why is everyone being so nasty to the OP? I'm incredibly sympathetic.
If you have any kind of relationship with the landlord you could ask if his lease does permit smoking. They may just be flouting his rules. But I'd probably try the practical solutions suggested on this thread first.

grrrfedup Wed 20-Jul-11 09:50:19

Secondhand cigarette smoke cannot be compared to cooking smells! Cooking smells don't pose a serious health risk.

garlicbutter Wed 20-Jul-11 09:54:23

microserf, my landlords allow smoking - because they're crappy old houses! This one hasn't even got floorboards on the ground floor - just earth and broken concrete.

I've renovated old terraces in the past. It wasn't unusual for the air/crawl spaces to be shared across several dwellings - floor and roof. I guess your two options, Tasty, are: take up the floor and seal any gaps; learn to like air freshener. Shouty's idea of a tactful conversation has to be worth a try first, though. Hope that works smile

newmum001 Wed 20-Jul-11 09:56:38

I cannot understand why some people are even suggesting they be reported to the landlord for smoking! How cruel do you have to be to possibly get someone kicked out of their home because you don't agree with smoking? I assume they are adults therefore they are perfectly entitled to smoke if they want! And you don't know for sure that there tennancy agreement doesn't allow them to smoke in the house! Perhaps you'd prefer them to stand on the street and smoke right in front of your window however many times a day!

newmum001 Wed 20-Jul-11 09:56:38

I cannot understand why some people are even suggesting they be reported to the landlord for smoking! How cruel do you have to be to possibly get someone kicked out of their home because you don't agree with smoking? I assume they are adults therefore they are perfectly entitled to smoke if they want! And you don't know for sure that there tennancy agreement doesn't allow them to smoke in the house! Perhaps you'd prefer them to stand on the street and smoke right in front of your window however many times a day!

AmaraDresden Wed 20-Jul-11 11:07:28

I can believe it newmum - smoking is EVIL! The law clearly needs to ban smoking in our homes, or even outside their front door judging by people's comments on this thread...

OP clearly wants the landlord to tell them not to smoke or fix the problem that SHE has. Hmmm, and you wonder why we're being harsh on her? Jesus, we can hear next door's cuckoo clock and when they talk, I should tell them that they need to take the batteries out and wear ball gags. Or maybe grass them up to their landlord for crimes against clocks.

People smoking in their homes shouldn't be considered bad neighbours either, believe me we've had some bad neighbours.

stupefy Wed 20-Jul-11 11:13:22

You cant get cancer from cuckoo clocks though can you Amara.

JanMorrow Wed 20-Jul-11 11:53:22

I wouldn't like this either! It would drive me mad. I used to live above some really heavy smokers and the smell would permeate our bathroom (I'm assuming it's where the pipes came in) and it smelt rank. Urrg.

And for the people say stuff like "for fucks sake stop policing what people do in their own homes", they clearly can't read. It's quite clear you're not doing that and you haven't even thought of asking them not to smoke, you just want to fill the gap in.. which is fair enough. Ask the landlord what he thinks and maybe consult the builder who did your alterations? They might be able to suggest something!

NoHunIntended Wed 20-Jul-11 12:13:38

I also have this problem, can't sleep with the windows open as the neighbours smoke underneath them, on all sides. Bring on the complete ban.

valiumredhead Wed 20-Jul-11 14:29:28

Oh YES, I'd LOVE a complete bad! grin

valiumredhead Wed 20-Jul-11 14:29:53

BAN obviously !

COCKadoodledooo Wed 20-Jul-11 16:32:26

I believe removal of a hearth on either or our side or theirs has left a gap under the houses which causes the problem.

Am I being unreasonable to expect the landlord of the neighbouring house to sort out this hole to stop the smell coming through?

In view of what you say in quote one, YABU, yes. You need to investigate on your side too, it is not solely down to the landlord.

TastyMuffins Wed 20-Jul-11 17:32:26

Thanks for the interesting mix of replies here!

Most defintely not wanting to tell them what to do in their own home because I don't actually want them smoking outside, that would be worse! Before anyone moans, I am fully aware that I can't stop them smoking outside their house or even my house.

I have contacted the letting agency I thought was letting the property to ask if they were and they replied to say they had let it but their tenants moved out and offered to pass on anything to the landlord.

I will remove the bath panel and see if I can see anything under there as that is my best hope. If it isn't something I can fix myself, see about getting a builder in and if it is a party wall issue request the landlord to go 50/50. I guess the worst he can do is to refuse.

Wendover Wed 05-Sep-12 16:00:38

Picture this: 2 grown men live next door, they smoke and drink beer every night. Their bathroom is adjacent to my bedroom. Old house and floorboards run through from our house to theirs. Imagine the scenario in their bathroom: cigarettes and racing pages while sat on the toilet!! I solved the smell coming through by sticking tape over every one of my floorboards and sealant around the edges. It really does work and hopefully the smoke is now filling their bathroom.

Ephiny Wed 05-Sep-12 16:09:50

It doesn't seem right that smells are coming through the floorboards.

We live in a terrace and yes we can smell when neighbours are smoking in the garden or having a barbecue and we have windows open, but nothing coming directly from their house into ours.

Obviously investigate on your side first though.

GoEasyPudding Wed 05-Sep-12 16:28:35

If you have any trouble with the DIY on a job like this you could get some advice from companies that offer sound proofing to homes.
While you wait an air purifier might be worth looking into.

Theres been some harsh feedback on this thread. Ciggy smoke is deadly and smelly all at the same time - death by rancid smell is something you should be able to avoid if you want! I live in a edwardian semi and our attic space was linked with next door and not divided up. We had to build a brick wall in the attic as it was a fire risk.

I guess you are looking at the same situation, I expect there is some shared below floorboards area.

MadgeHarvey Wed 05-Sep-12 16:43:29

This thread is over a year old for fuck's sake! Why not just start a new one?

zoobaby Wed 05-Sep-12 16:44:30

Totally agree with Tasty about how it is absolutely positively annoying when you're a non-smoker and you have it forced up your nostrils and you can now get fresher air down the pub than in your own home. Despite whatever arguments are made, that one fact remains and it sucks so badly and is just so hair-tearingly frustrating to have to deal with.

We live in a purpose-built block of flats, with concrete between the levels, but the scenario sounds spookily similar. We tried to nicely approach the landlords who used to live there, and with whom we thought we had a good relationship, but they basically laughed at us and told us where to get off sad.

Turns out that there were gaps in the concrete between floors, but also between rooms (bathroom/kitchen share a communal wall with pipes between). Our only solution was to pull every single kitchen cabinet out, to locate the holes and fill those blighters with can upon can upon can of expanding foam. We don't care if their ceiling collapses under the weight of that stuff... as long as we no longer get offended by the stink.

zoobaby Wed 05-Sep-12 16:46:49

Ooh - just saw Madge's astute observation of the date of the OP. Sneaky one Wendover.

JollyJellyBear Wed 05-Sep-12 17:07:47

We had this in our old house when new neighbours moved in. We traced it to the gas meter cupboard which was just pasterboard at their side. stuffing it with. insulation stuff sorted it out.

yankkie Fri 02-Aug-13 23:48:32

curry is not a health treat cigarette smoke is you must be a smoker to put a post like that you need to live with this problem before you post a comment like that. its a danger to children living in the house that has to put up with it.

ForgetfulNameChanger Fri 02-Aug-13 23:57:20

RUN IT'S A ZOMBIE <screams>

holidaysarenice Sat 03-Aug-13 01:15:59

It is likely that they aren't supposed to be smoking in the house. Many rented house insurances forbid it for fire safety too.

It is anal but if ur like that mention it to the ll and let him decide what to do. I.e mention the smoky smell not 'will you fix the problem'

xylem8 Sat 03-Aug-13 05:26:26

if both sides have had work done the hole is just as likely to be your doing as next doors. There should be on smells coming from next door in a sound house. He smells can get through then fire can. You need to make contact with the landlord and see he he will stump up half the cost oe getting someone io to investigate where the hole is

lol
a double zombie thread smile

BergholtStuttleyJohnson Sat 03-Aug-13 14:01:21

I get this in my house too, comes in through the old fireplace neighbours smoke weed aswell. It doesn't bother me massively, I presume it's mostly just smell and not the same as passive smoking given it must pass through a miniscule gap. I just open the windows.

I know it's a double zombie but lolo at yankkie's smoking being a health treat. Harhar.

Ledkr Sat 03-Aug-13 15:14:53

No. I disagree with those saying its like cooking smells.
I get this from next door sometimes and it smells vile.
Now I am what they call a social smoker so am certainly not anal about smoking but sometimes my lounge smells rank and it does piss me off.
Find out where it's coming in and drop the landlord a line.
He might be pissed off they are smoking in there as rented houses are normally non smoking.

WorraLiberty Sat 03-Aug-13 15:27:20

curry is not a health treat cigarette smoke is you must be a smoker to put a post like that you need to live with this problem before you post a comment like that. its a danger to children living in the house that has to put up with it.

I'm not a smoker

The smell of stale cigarette smoke from the house next door is not a health threat...unless you're the sort of person who needs to leave the house in an oxygen tent.

This thread is 2 fucking years old

The neighbours could well have buggered off by now.

jamdonut Sat 03-Aug-13 15:34:08

I'm on the OP's side(zombie thread or not), except the smoke is weed,not cigarettes.

It is disgusting ,makes me feel sick and seems to seep through the walls...you can smell it all over our house.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now