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Drum Bunny

On Personal Rights...

Posted on 2007.04.26 at 12:32
Here's a case that's come before the Rental Board.

The Quebec rental board has been asked to rule whether a landlord can force a tenant to not smoke in a rented apartment.

Olesia Koretski and Matthew Newland went to the board this spring to enforce a no-smoking rule in their building.

The couple rent an apartment to Sandra Fowler, who is a smoker but moved into the duplex last summer after filling out a form that stated the building was non-smoking.

The landlords said Fowler's habit is affecting their home, which they say fills with the smell of smoke and exacerbates Koretski's asthma. Koretski is 33 weeks pregnant and concerned about second-hand smoke.

Fowler is fighting the case, arguing there is no clause in her lease that forbids her from smoking. "If it was that important to them, they would have included it in the lease," she told CBC News. "If it's important to your life and well-being, you make sure it's there. It wasn't there."

Fowler said she would have never signed the lease if there had been a no-smoking clause. The rental board is expected to rule in May.
The Quebec rental board has been asked to rule whether a landlord can force a tenant to not smoke in a rented apartment.

Olesia Koretski and Matthew Newland went to the board this spring to enforce a no-smoking rule in their building.

The couple rent an apartment to Sandra Fowler, who is a smoker but moved into the duplex last summer after filling out a form that stated the building was non-smoking.

The landlords said Fowler's habit is affecting their home, which they say fills with the smell of smoke and exacerbates Koretski's asthma. Koretski is 33 weeks pregnant and concerned about second-hand smoke.

Fowler is fighting the case, arguing there is no clause in her lease that forbids her from smoking. "If it was that important to them, they would have included it in the lease," she told CBC News. "If it's important to your life and well-being, you make sure it's there. It wasn't there."

Fowler said she would have never signed the lease if there had been a no-smoking clause. The rental board is expected to rule in May.

source

That said, I've created a poll to see what others think about this.


Poll #973791 personal rights

I am a

Smoker
3(25.0%)
Non-smoker
4(33.3%)
Ex-smoker
5(41.7%)

I believe that for the duration of this lease

the tenant should be forbidden to smoke in her own appartment.
4(33.3%)
the tenant has the right to smoke in her own appartment.
8(66.7%)

IF you answered "Forbid", what other behaviours should be controlled by a landlord

The burning of incense (all smoke is harmful)
0(0.0%)
The burning of candles (danger of fire)
0(0.0%)
The consumption of alcoholic beverages (affects judgement - could jeopardise other tenants)
0(0.0%)
The keeping of domesticated animals (dogs may attack tenants, feline dander affects allergy sufferers)
2(50.0%)
The use of solvents (dangerous fumes)
1(25.0%)
The cooking of ethnic foods (potential cause of nausea)
0(0.0%)
All of the above
0(0.0%)
Other
1(25.0%)

Other? Please, do go on.


Comments:


... in a handbasket
inahandbasket at 2007-04-26 16:42 (UTC) (Permanent link)
tricky, the tenant "signed a form" acknowledging that it's a non-smoking building. That should be enforceable in court. But, like she says, it's not in the lease so it's a bit of a grey area imho.

If it were in the lease, she couldn't get away with it at all, and should be forbidden, but since it's not I can't state an opinion without more info about this other form.

non-smoker myself.
Simply Stan
paperpath at 2007-04-26 17:08 (UTC) (Permanent link)
I'm agreed that legally she can smoke in her appartment - for now. I don't expect that her lease will get renewed as is, though.
_r_e_q_u_i_e_m_ at 2007-04-26 16:49 (UTC) (Permanent link)
dude, they dont want you to smoke, just fucking go outside. ugh. i want to slap her. we smoked outside the whole time we were actually smokers.
Milk Lady
kdbuttongirl at 2007-04-26 16:55 (UTC) (Permanent link)
But I also had complaints of the people on the nearby balconies smelling my cigarette smoke. Where does the line get drawn?
_r_e_q_u_i_e_m_ at 2007-04-26 17:07 (UTC) (Permanent link)
they can shut their windows for the seven minutes while you smoke. thats what we do when our neighbours go outside to smoke.
Milk Lady
kdbuttongirl at 2007-04-26 16:54 (UTC) (Permanent link)
y'know, I can see it being enforced if it were in the lease. But it wasn't. Even if it were, there could be some doubt about it being enforced because the lease form states quite clearly that any limitations contained in the lease which are not legal (like not allowing children, for example) are null. So this forces the regie or whoever to rule on whether this is the kind of limitation which can be stipulated in a lease.

Animals, on the otherhand, I can understand limiting (and it is currently something which can be prohibited) because of the potential damage they can cause to the building or apartment. Getting in to prohibiting smoking in your rented home is, like you suggest, not far from regulating the foods people can cook, the perfume, incense... hell some people might not be allowed to have bowel movements in their own home.

The tenant brought up a very good point: If the ventilation and insulation of the building is so bad that her cigarette smoke filters into her neighbour's, then perhaps something ought to be done to fix that problem first.

In my old building, my neighbour was a big pot smoker, and if she smoked in the living room, inevitably, the hallway smelled of it. There were complaints, but never any about people smoking cigarettes in the hall. I think the complaints were mainly due to it being an illegal substance and the complainers figured they had the moral high-ground.
_r_e_q_u_i_e_m_ at 2007-04-26 17:10 (UTC) (Permanent link)
smoke does cause damage though, you have to repaint everything and the smell never really comes out of carpet.
Simply Stan
paperpath at 2007-04-26 17:28 (UTC) (Permanent link)
Halls filled with pot smoke? I know some that would think that a perk. ;-)
sarcastic bitch
waiting4elysium at 2007-04-26 16:59 (UTC) (Permanent link)
ethically, i think the tenant ought to refrain from smoking in her apartment. legally, the non-smoking form she signed doesn't seem to be binding.
Simply Stan
paperpath at 2007-04-26 17:09 (UTC) (Permanent link)
Agreed. I shall name thee "Cooler Head"
(Deleted comment)
Simply Stan
paperpath at 2007-04-26 17:02 (UTC) (Permanent link)
I think that you can change your answer by revisiting the poll.
(Deleted comment)
_r_e_q_u_i_e_m_ at 2007-04-26 17:12 (UTC) (Permanent link)
srsly, if someone is having asthma attacks, dude, just be the bigger person and dont smoke inside.

sorry, but this is whiney bitchy "oh my rights as a smoker" is just BULLSHIT and makes me mad b/c there are about a billion other rights violations that actually, you know, matter.
Simply Stan
paperpath at 2007-04-26 17:13 (UTC) (Permanent link)
there are about a billion other rights violations that actually, you know, matter
Yup, but this one made the news.... :-/
_r_e_q_u_i_e_m_ at 2007-04-26 17:15 (UTC) (Permanent link)
makes me CRANKY. esp since ive been trying to get people to sign a petition about armenian genocide, but THIS gets press?

head against brick wall.
(Deleted comment)
_r_e_q_u_i_e_m_ at 2007-04-26 17:16 (UTC) (Permanent link)
ROFL
Simply Stan
paperpath at 2007-04-27 15:40 (UTC) (Permanent link)
a non-sequiter specially for you:
Squid drive!
sarcastic bitch
waiting4elysium at 2007-04-26 17:09 (UTC) (Permanent link)
while i think most people (self included) can appreciate wanting to restrict things like pets, it does seem unreasonable for a landlord to be able to limit certain things like cooking ethnic foods or burning of candles. but i think restricting such things would be self limiting. look at the tenant in this story, she states that she wouldn't have signed the lease had it contained a non-smoking clause. if a property owner wants to restrict something, let them. then let them change their minds when they can't find anyone to rent from them.
Simply Stan
paperpath at 2007-04-26 17:12 (UTC) (Permanent link)
yeah.. the burning of candles and the ethnic cooking was a bit of a beard pull. Though there was a case when a bunch of retired ditties (sp?) did gang up on one tenant of the Old Folk's Home for making horrible and stomach churning cooking smells. I don't remember how the case turned out though.
your_sedative at 2007-04-29 04:57 (UTC) (Permanent link)
Man, we are battling the same issues ALL OVER the midwest, but we are far behind since people out here are sooo more conservative than people on the east or west coast. You can still smoke in many restaurants, casinos, etc (Filip was in SHOCK when he visited, you can't even smoke on some sidewalks in Boston) but many people are fighting against it.

Yes, it should have been stated in the lease, but what is wrong with smoking outside? I think it has less to do with ethics and more with just damn politeness. Although they may be smokers, not everyone else in that apartment is. And if I were living with someone who is pregnant or a child who has asthma, I would tell them to step outside also.

I don't care much for smoking myself, although I have been one to have a menthol cigarette or two when having a drink at a party. My father used to always smoke cigars, and whenever he came outside, the smell (ewww!) would waft behind him. It made me cringe whenever he wanted a hug.
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