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Neighbours Smoke coming through

(29 Posts)
Tadeusz Thu 25-Nov-10 15:04:20

I' m not sure how many other people have had this problem but I am sure I can't be the only one. I'd like to share this with anyone who suffers from smoke coming through walls. The environmental health department cannot stop anyone from smoking in their own home, however, I was told that if I could prove that the smoke coming through was dangerous to us or my unborn child they may be able to argue with the owners of my neighbors property (in my case the HA)that they should seal in the smoke. It seems that they do not recognize the smoke as anything but a bad smell.
I am currently gathering evidence to shove... sorry put before many agencies and will happily share this info with anyone who is interested. I respect my neighbors right to self harm and poison her kids, but I refuse to allow my family to be harmed through their stupidity. Am I being unreasonable? I really don't think so!

GypsyMoth Thu 25-Nov-10 15:08:03

how do you seal in smoke though?

think you have a battle on your hands,good luck!!

scurryfunge Thu 25-Nov-10 15:11:00

YANBU but I am not sure how you can get rid of the problem easily.

BelleDeChocChipCookieMonster Thu 25-Nov-10 15:12:43

It shouldn't be coming through the walls unless they are very poorly insulated. Have you sealed your windows?

frogetyfrog Thu 25-Nov-10 15:12:45

How is it getting through from her house to yours. If it is HA housing then I presume it is quite new and therefore does not have joined loft or floor cavities?

expatinscotland Thu 25-Nov-10 15:13:34

We have it coming through the bare floorboards when there's a smoker below us.

I don't mind as long as the neighbour's quiet.

Once you've had serious neighbours from hell, stuff like this really doesn't bother you anymore.

ginnybag Thu 25-Nov-10 15:16:46

YANBU, but what sort of walls are they to be allowing this?

You might try a coat of the damp-stopper stuff which is supposed to seal plaster, followed by a thick wallpaper?

Or perhaps renewing the insulation or the damp course?

You really can't do anything to stop them smoking in their own home, though, and you'll have fun proving a significant risk from the amounts of smoke that must be filtering through. Just make sure the baby's room is not adjoining their house and move on.

How bad is the problem, really?

GypsyMoth Thu 25-Nov-10 15:33:34

if they stand outside and smoke,then some would come into the house if near windows,fans etc. this happens with our neighbour

as for harming unborn babies,who knows!?

expatinscotland Thu 25-Nov-10 15:40:30

ours actually wafts up through the floorboards.

the fella before the person whose in now was such a drunk, everytime he was home, which wasn't often, it smelled like a pub in the whole downstairs of his flat.

But he was quiet after I only had to complain to him once.

Believe me, it was a relief after having some seriously bad neighbours, so I wasn't too bothered.

Yes, we have young children, too.

Living in flats just sucks.

abouteve Thu 25-Nov-10 15:42:01

Cannot imagine smoke coming through walls, tbh, can you see it? If it's a smoky smell have you checked it's not from your own fire. YABU and I doubt there is anything you can do.

frogetyfrog Thu 25-Nov-10 15:53:54

It would be hellishly difficult to prove that the smell was coming from your neighbours anyway - unless you can see the smoke coming through the wall at a defective point, for example if the electricians put plug sockets back to back (which shouldnt be done apparently) which may create a weak point and a source of air flow (and smoke) between the properties. Even then it would be a building defect that was the problem and not your neigbours unreasonabless so the HA would need to go after the builders.

Most properly built houses have solid walls between them so smoke couldnt pass through.

Expat - obviously flats are different. I agreee living in flats sucks.

TheFantasticFixit Thu 25-Nov-10 15:54:31

Totally sympathise - it is horrid to smell a neighbours smoke. We had a new neighbour move in about 5 months ago and from the get go the smell in our flat in the mornings used to make me nauseous, it was so extreme.

But I am afraid even though you can smell it it is highly doubtful that it will be enough to cause a significant risk to you and your unborn child and so there is very little that you can do. I would try the damp proof paint stuff and the wallpaper idea, but I'm afraid it is a downside to living in properties that adjoin to your neighbours.

eachpeach80 Thu 25-Nov-10 15:55:21

YADNBU. We had this problem with our neighbour upstairs. No idea how the smoke got through (maybe through ventilation system or something) but we asked him to open a window or go outside when he smoked and he has been really good about it. We have rarely smelt it since. I did a lot of research on this and I don't think there is much you can do to stop people smoking in their own homes but ask them nicely and present them with facts on SIDS if you have a baby or are expecting one. It's all rather unsatisfactory IMO. We should have non smoking residential buildings like they do in the USA.

Try asking her nicely and if that doesn't work go the HA route.

For what it's worth, although I don't think YABU, everyone who smelt it in my flat said it was very mild and not to worry about it. Sometimes when you are pregnant your sense of smell is heightened.

AxisofEvil Thu 25-Nov-10 15:57:53

I can understand it is distressing (I can't stand being around smoke) but I have to say that I think you will struggle to prove the concentrations are high enough to be a health problem

In terms of practical advice I u derstand midwives have a puffer thing to measure
Carbon monoxide which is used to help evaluate smokers so maybe see if you can access that. Might enable you to say it is equivalent of x cigarettes per week.

curlymama Thu 25-Nov-10 16:15:19

Where in the wall is it coming through? How are you gathering eveidence, do you have some sort of monitor?

If it's bothering you that much then it might be worth trying sealant paint.

Other than that I don't see what else you can do. If it does turn out to be a problem with the building, then it's up to the HA to sort it.

eaglewings Thu 25-Nov-10 16:20:51

Thought it was just us who got smells from next door, in our old house we'd get the smell of garlic from their kitchen to ours. It was a semidetached with good flooring etc.

Wouldn't mind, but even the smell of garlic gives me a headache, eatting it makes me ill sad

MrsSaxon Thu 25-Nov-10 16:47:24

I have this problem. We live in a 1950s semi and the neighbors smoke drifts into our back bedroom.

However my neighbor is a lovely old dear and its just one of those things.

expatinscotland Thu 25-Nov-10 16:51:23

That sealant paint is: a)incredibly expensive b) probably very toxic for a pregnant woman to breathe in.

doubleshotlatte Thu 25-Nov-10 18:28:55

YANBU I'm pregnant too and we have a similar problem in our 1930s era semi in a fairly costly part of town . Our neighbours are Polish, theyre renting from the owner, and we don't know how to even discuss it without seeming xenophobic. They also don't speak English....

But, our bedroom stinks of stale smoke, some particularly smelly brand that they smoke, acc to our other neighbour. Our carpet and clothes drawers all stink of it, despite fragrant drawer liners, carpet cleaners etc. DH even took up the floorboards at one end and filled a hole he found with the sprayable/hardening filler.

It's worst in winter, when we can't open our windows and spending time in the room I come out eyes and nose streaming

Thinking of investing in an Air Purifier, which I suspect is stupidly expensive. angry

flingingflangin Thu 25-Nov-10 18:33:39

YANBU how is it coming through would be my first concern. Construction of the house etc. But have to agree with expat, it could be worse. Loud TV or music is debilitating as are constant parties etc. We have a couple next door who are lovely, but because the house is crappily built every time the flush the loo or get stuff out of a cupboard we know about it!

blackeyedsusan Thu 25-Nov-10 18:53:35

we had the stink of canabis coming from the downstairs flat(2 floors below) it came up through the walls and out the air brick in the kitchen. what a pong. it would bother me at first but after a while i didn't seem to care! grin

we get the smell of smoke in our airing cupboard from the man next door and when he had his carpets cleaned i got very high on the smell of chemicals coming through under the stairs. these are the places where the water pipes and the electricity and gas pipes come into the flats. i should probably get around to sealing the gaps up with decorators caulk at some point.

the flat downstairs got raided by the police after several complaints from other residents.

Tadeusz Thu 25-Nov-10 22:02:30

Well to answer some comments, firstly we do live next door to the neighbours from hell, I listen to her beating her kids regularly, they broke the boundary fence and took great pleasure in urinating on our house. It cost us lots of money to get the HA to even speak to us (We got a solicitor involved.)

The house is old (1930's ex council), and so I am concerned about possible structural implications, especially if there is a fire.

Secondary smoke is dangerous to everyone including unborn children. (I can refer to WHO publication). The problem is bad as my eyes water and I wake up in the night coughing etc. I have no other room to safely put my child in as the smoke permeates the entire house.

I don't wish to stop them smoking, I just believe they should be responsible for their toxic waste.

winnybella Thu 25-Nov-10 22:13:06

If she really is beating her children up then perhaps you should be concerned for their welfare and give SS a call?

YANBU, though, about not wanting to inhale someone else's smoke on regular basis.

And, if I may ask, why Polish man's name as nickname? Just being nosy smile

PinkIceQueen Thu 25-Nov-10 22:18:05

I have had this problem with some ex neighbours, and like eaglewings, even now get cooking smells. I live in a victorian house with floorboards and shared joists, the smells just come straight through (also noise). If anyone has a solution, I'd be very interested!

expatinscotland Thu 25-Nov-10 22:41:52

You'd best work towards getting her evicted then. Start by reporting to SS. If she gets her kids taken off her then she may lose her tenancy.

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