Co-op Neighbor Won’t Stop Smoking
Q We live in a large Manhattan co-op. Our neighbor next door is a nonstop smoker — and has been for the seven years we’ve been here. The smoke leaks into our apartment and the common hallway and generally has created an untenable situation. What are the obligations of the co-op to remedy this?
A Stuart M. Saft, a Manhattan lawyer who is chairman of the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums, says that tenant-shareholders in a co-op have the right to “quiet enjoyment” of their apartment, which means it is up to the co-op to use reasonable efforts to keep smoke from migrating from one unit to another. Such efforts include sealing openings between the apartments (including the electrical sockets), cleaning the filters if there is a central air-conditioning system, and putting the offending shareholder on notice that he or she is violating the requirement in most house rules that residents not allow odors to leave their apartments. “The board could even require the smoking shareholder to purchase a machine that absorbs smoke in the smoker’s apartment,” he said. If the smoker refused to cooperate, his proprietary lease could be terminated for objectionable conduct.
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