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question about how to deal with a situation morally - newyorkcatholic - 08-06-2012

Situation: The tenant in the apartment across from us smokes very heavily (her right) but she insists on keeping her door propped open.  The smoke then fills the hallway and our apartment, and it's awful.  I'm coughing like crazy but the worst is that it is affecting our baby girl who is coughing (and also second-hand smoke increases the risk of sudden death in children under a year old).

We've asked her to close her door, she refuses.  We put a fan outside our door, and tried a few other things.

So the question is, can I morally do something safe and I think legal but very unpleasant to her? Like can I spray some noxious product like "liquid ass" in the hallway, just a little so that it will only affect those apartments that keep their door propped open? (I researched the product -- supposedly safe, only lasts a few hours, and is very very unpleasant).

Yes it's a puerile idea, but she's not breaking the law so the cops won't help me, building management doesn't care, and she doesn't care.  I can't afford to just get up and move.

My goal is just to "convince" her that the should keep her door closed and if her apt gets too smoky, she can open a window, or get an air purifying machine or something, anything but pass the smoke on into our place.


Re: question about how to deal with a situation morally - Historian - 08-06-2012

(08-06-2012, 10:07 AM)newyorkcatholic Wrote: Situation: The tenant in the apartment across from us smokes very heavily (her right) but she insists on keeping her door propped open.  The smoke then fills the hallway and our apartment, and it's awful.  I'm coughing like crazy but the worst is that it is affecting our baby girl who is coughing (and also second-hand smoke increases the risk of sudden death in children under a year old).

We've asked her to close her door, she refuses.  We put a fan outside our door, and tried a few other things.

So the question is, can I morally do something safe and I think legal but very unpleasant to her? Like can I spray some noxious product like "liquid ass" in the hallway, just a little so that it will only affect those apartments that keep their door propped open? (I researched the product -- supposedly safe, only lasts a few hours, and is very very unpleasant).

Yes it's a puerile idea, but she's not breaking the law so the cops won't help me, building management doesn't care, and she doesn't care.  I can't afford to just get up and move.

My goal is just to "convince" her that the should keep her door closed and if her apt gets too smoky, she can open a window, or get an air purifying machine or something, anything but pass the smoke on into our place.

Contact the landlord.

Review your lease.

It is always within the landlord's interest to restrict tenants who reduce the value of a place to other tenants.


Re: question about how to deal with a situation morally - Historian - 08-06-2012

(08-06-2012, 10:07 AM)newyorkcatholic Wrote: So the question is, can I morally do something safe and I think legal but very unpleasant to her? Like can I spray some noxious product like "liquid ass" in the hallway, just a little so that it will only affect those apartments that keep their door propped open? (I researched the product -- supposedly safe, only lasts a few hours, and is very very unpleasant).
Would that solve anything?

Morally speaking, it is not advisable. (Citation: Imitation of Christ)

Quote:Yes it's a puerile idea, but she's not breaking the law so the cops won't help me, building management doesn't care, and she doesn't care.  I can't afford to just get up and move.

I would work to reduce conflict and to seal my own door, air vents, etc to prevent the problem from getting worse.


Re: question about how to deal with a situation morally - Historian - 08-06-2012

Cannot edit posts. In the first post I wrote, I want to add that you can use the civil court against your landlord or the person. Get a lawyer. Review your options.


Re: question about how to deal with a situation morally - Phillipus Iacobus - 08-06-2012

(08-06-2012, 10:07 AM)newyorkcatholic Wrote: So the question is, can I morally do something safe and I think legal but very unpleasant to her? Like can I spray some noxious product like "liquid ass" in the hallway, just a little so that it will only affect those apartments that keep their door propped open? (I researched the product -- supposedly safe, only lasts a few hours, and is very very unpleasant).

Haha, I bet it would be "unpleasant" for her. However, you don't want to start a war, just to get her to keep her smoke to herself. This is interesting, because in my neck of the woods, smoking is the only immoral thing one can do, and, out here, if she did that in an apartment and a parent complained, her ass would be out. I guess New York isn't as anti-smoking as California?

Why won't the landlord do anything?


Re: question about how to deal with a situation morally - newyorkcatholic - 08-06-2012

(08-06-2012, 10:14 AM)Rosarium Wrote: Cannot edit posts. In the first post I wrote, I want to add that you can use the civil court against your landlord or the person. Get a lawyer. Review your options.

This landlord does not want to help (I am still trying to work with them, but for the sake of argument let us discuss what to do if the landlord ultimately refuses to do anything).  I did speak to a lawyer, who strongly advised against civil litigation since (in his opinion) courts have a history of seeing second-hand smoke as a minor nuisance and it will be a waste of time and money to pursue that route.

The lease allows smoking.

As to sealing the door and air vents, that's a good idea, we are going to pursue that as well.

But for the sake of argument, let's say I pursue those suggestions, but still ultimately we are being exposed to the harmful smoke, primary because her door is propped open.

In that case, could I use some of that foul-smelling product? 

To answer your question "Would that solve anything?" - my hope is it would make her close her door.  That's the main source of the smoke, and so I'd be happy if she just closed the door.


Re: question about how to deal with a situation morally - newyorkcatholic - 08-06-2012

(08-06-2012, 10:20 AM)Crusader_Philly Wrote:
(08-06-2012, 10:07 AM)newyorkcatholic Wrote: So the question is, can I morally do something safe and I think legal but very unpleasant to her? Like can I spray some noxious product like "liquid ass" in the hallway, just a little so that it will only affect those apartments that keep their door propped open? (I researched the product -- supposedly safe, only lasts a few hours, and is very very unpleasant).

Haha, I bet it would be "unpleasant" for her. However, you don't want to start a war, just to get her to keep her smoke to herself. This is interesting, because in my neck of the woods, smoking is the only immoral thing one can do, and, out here, if she did that in an apartment and a parent complained, her ass would be out. I guess New York isn't as anti-smoking as California?

Why won't the landlord do anything?

The landlord is very, very hands off.  We just got them to make major repairs after many months of complaining.  It's a large company with many buildings and it's very impersonal.  It's still possible something will happen, but they have sent letters, the tenant ignores them, and they are not willing to pursue any other action.  The liquid ass is a last resort type of thing I'm considering.


Re: question about how to deal with a situation morally - newyorkcatholic - 08-06-2012

To clarify, in NYC it's against the law to smoke in the common area of residences.  But she's in her apt, with her door propped open.  So she's not in a common area. The landlord could convert that apt to smoke-free, but they are not interested in that and it takes many months and old tenants are grandfathered in the old rules anyway.

I could sue, but I don't want money from her (and she would just keep her door open for the months it took to sue her, I think).


Re: question about how to deal with a situation morally - Phillipus Iacobus - 08-06-2012

She knows that her smoke is causing your daughter to cough, but still won't do anything? Strange. Unfortunately, I don't have any recommendations as to what you should do in this situation.


Re: question about how to deal with a situation morally - Mithrandylan - 08-06-2012

If the management really won't do anything, go for it.

He's got an infant child, for God's sake.  C'mon people.