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Should I tell the neighbours that their cigarette smoke is seeping into our flat?

(33 Posts)
EyeOfFrogSpawnChorus Sun 15-Nov-09 12:26:37

Genuinely not sure if this would be unreasonable. We've just moved into a big old traditional tenement flat. I've noticed that I can smell cigarette smoke in the sitting room. It seems to be seeping through the open press. I'm guessing that the neighbours must have a press on their side of the wall, and that the smoke can waft through, although weirdly we can't hear any noise at all.

Obviously I'm not happy about the smell, but I'm more worried about the health implications for my DCs, particularly my 7 week old DS. Am I being a it precious? I really don't know how strong second hand smoke has to be to effect children's health.

Should I contact the neighbour about it? I doubt I can persuade them to stop smoking in their own home, and I don't want to cause bad-feeling. Or perhaps I should ask our landlord to get it sealed better (although again, I don't want to be causing trouble for her...we've only just moved in, and we love the flat and want to stay here for as long as possible).

What's the best way to handle this?

ChunkyMonkeysMum Sun 15-Nov-09 12:35:12

I would speak to your landlord if I were you. TBH, I don't think there's much that you can say to your neighburs, or if you actually have any right, as it is their flat & if they choose to smoke in their own home, that is down to them.

I'd rather mention it to her in the hopes that she can do something about it than risk causing bad feeling with the neighbours.

IsItMeOr Sun 15-Nov-09 12:37:25

Blowed if I know - we have a similar issue through the party wall in our semi. I had always assumed there was really nothing to be done about it. It seems to come in through the ventilation panel in the floor we have to have for the gas fire.

So, I would be inclined to just leave it grin. But will be interested to see what other replies you get.

EyeOfFrogSpawnChorus Sun 15-Nov-09 12:38:43

I've just been sniffing around the sitting room and I think it's also coming through the floor boards. It would be a massive job (or impossible?) to seal them all. sad

BitOfFun Sun 15-Nov-09 13:07:05

Smell doesn't hurt. You are being daft. Squirt some air freshener and chill out.

IsItMeOr Sun 15-Nov-09 13:21:58

If it's coming through the floor boards, would a (cheap - IKEA?) rug help to keep it out?

emsyj Sun 15-Nov-09 13:36:10

I would hate for our house to smell of smoke - yuk. Who cares if it will harm the DCs or not? It's dirty and horrible and YOU don't smoke, so why should you have to squirt air freshener and put up with it??

Don't go to the neighbours, approach the landlord. And if it couldn't be resolved, I would be moving personally - I wouldn't want my home smelling of fags, it's my pet peeve.

Firawla Sun 15-Nov-09 13:50:42

I would bring it up with your landlord

Earlybird Sun 15-Nov-09 13:54:32

Agree - bring it up with your landlord.

Is the smell noticeable only when neighbours are home and smoking? If so, try to ensure that your landlord visits at that time so it is clear you are not exaggerating.

If landlord is unable to offer any solution, you will need to decide if you can tolerate it or if it bothers you enough to move.

SouthMum Sun 15-Nov-09 14:40:02

Could it be whoever was there before you who might have smoked and the smell has stayed?

Not sure what landlord would do except have a word with the neighbours maybe but this might cause bad feeling (I for one would be a bit hmm if I knew someone had complained about me smoking in my own home)

EyeOfFrogSpawnChorus Sun 15-Nov-09 16:23:07

BOF - Surely if we can smell the smoke the toxins are coming through too? hmm And I can't bear the smell of air freshener.

There's already a rug, but it can't get into the worst smelling corner, and it's also coming through the press (bookcase).

We really really can't move again. We've had to move three times in the last 15 months (bloody landlords keep changing their plans and wanting to move back into their houses!!). Plus we're tied in for at least 6 months anyway.

Unfortunately the landlord lives in San Fransisco, but perhaps I should get the agent to sniff it?

Anyway, I've been googling and it would appear that we have some protection from the law when it comes to smoke (or other "pollution" drifting into our flat....but I REALLY don't want it to get all heavy and legal.

EyeOfFrogSpawnChorus Sun 15-Nov-09 16:36:50

Oops Francisco

msrisotto Sun 15-Nov-09 16:59:34

I had this in my previous apartment. I don't know how good your landlord is but it might be quicker if you spoke to the neighbours yourself although you can't actually do anything about it and to talk to them about it more than once is unreasonable as it is their home tbh.

EyeOfFrogSpawnChorus Sun 15-Nov-09 17:01:28


EyeOfFrogSpawnChorus Sun 15-Nov-09 17:06:05

Is it really any different from noise pollution though? It is pretty intrusive imo.

Earlybird Sun 15-Nov-09 17:38:48

Does your landlord own the flat below that is the source of the smoke?

It's too late now, but presumably you didn't notice the strong smell when you first viewed the flat?

EyeOfFrogSpawnChorus Sun 15-Nov-09 20:45:12

No, this is the landlord's main home. She's away in the US for a couple of years. Also, it's actually the flat next door, rather than downstairs (we're on the ground floor).

And no, there was no smell when we looked around. Perhaps the neighbour was out? It's a fresh ciggie smell, as if the smoke is wafting through when he's actually having a fag, iykwim...not a smell "stain" ingrained in the room (sorry...v tired and incoherent ).

Hullygully Sun 15-Nov-09 20:47:25

What is a press?

You could talk to them but they'll prob tell you to fuck off.

EyeOfFrogSpawnChorus Sun 15-Nov-09 20:56:50

A press is a book case set into the wall, often with a door (ours is doorless).

I'm kind of surprised that the consensus on here is that the neighbour is likely to tell me to fuck off. What if he was playing v loud music? Would I have more of a right to complain for that? Fag smoke is worse imo...I'm really worried about the effect on my least noise is just a nuisance, rather than actually harmful.

Hullygully Sun 15-Nov-09 21:25:12

Because one of the few places people can still relax and do as they please (inc smoking) is in their own home.

EyeOfFrogSpawnChorus Sun 15-Nov-09 21:33:12

Well up to a point HG. You're not actually allowed to cause a nuisance to others though, and second hand smoke is vile. I couldn;t care less about him smoking, but he needs to keep his smoke in his flat!

Knickers0nMaHead Sun 15-Nov-09 21:39:47

It isnt his fault though is it? It is his flat and he is entitled to smoke in it. Just as i am in mine if i so wished. (I dont though, i smoke outside)

spicemonster Sun 15-Nov-09 21:46:11

I cannot imagine that smoke is seeping into your flat in harmful quantities. The smell of ready rolled fags is however much more pervasive so yes you are being a bit PFB about it.

I can imagine it's annoying but that's life I think. My neighbours walk on their wooden floors upstairs with shoes on and drop stuff on the floor. It regularly wakes me and my DS up. I can't complain though because it is their right to walk around and drop stuff on their floor.

If you live in a flat, you have to live and let live to a large extent and that means you really can't expect other people not to smoke in their own home. Perhaps you should take up really stinky curry making in retribution.

EyeOfFrogSpawnChorus Sun 15-Nov-09 21:49:48

Surely my DCs and I are equally entitled to live in my flat and breathe clean air though?

Would your argument apply to someone who enjoys listening to loud music?

madamearcati Sun 15-Nov-09 21:52:38

i wouldn't be so much concerned about the smoke smell (horrible though it is folks have every right to smoke in their own home) more about the fireproofing.If smoke can get through fire can.
i would probably ring your local Building Regs department because there are very strict regulations about fireproofing rented flats

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