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Tobacco Smoke Entering Tenants Flat From Below


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This website is a fantastic resource, many thanks to those who have put so much hard work into it. My first post so please be gentle!

I have a one bed flat that I rent out, and the tenant (who I know very well, she very honest and trustworthy) has complained to me that cigarette smoke is entering her flat from a flat below.

She first complained of this around 10 months ago, I wrote a letter to the freeholder and the letting agent in charge of the flat below. The agent sent a letter to the tenants beneath her reminding them the flat was non smoking, and they were not very happy and denied that they smoke at all (yet my tenant says she has seen the couple in question smoking outside the building on several occasions, and I have no reason to doubt her.) Recently these two people moved out and my tenant reported that the smoke had stopped. However, new people have moved in and the smoke has unfortunately returned. The smoke gets into her bedding, clothes and she has developed some breathing complaints.

The building is quite old, and the smoke does seem to come into the bathroom, possibly through the extractor fan (which I presume is linked to the bathroom below). Im also thinking it may be coming up from under the bath. The building is non smoking (so the freeholder has told me) but it is attached to two other houses, and the freeholder is suggesting the smoke may come from a "wood burner" from one of the attached houses. This isnt likely, as the smoke has continued during the very warm couple of weeks we have had recently, and of course the problem cleared up when the flat below was vacant. The freeholder has agreed to allow us to place "this is a non smoking building" signs in the corridor leading up to the flats.

Just wondering if anyone else has had experience of this and what they might have done to resolve it. Its very tricky when the flat below denies smoking, yet the tenant above is still suffering.

Thanks in advance for any helpful suggestions!

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Hi Russ,

am new myself to this site but it's very good and am sure you'll get some great advise.

I have a HMO with 4 flats and, since 1stJuly, have has to install signs in my stairway advising people that this is a no smoking area. I think the signs are a legal requirement. On all entrance/exits.

Good luck


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HI All

We had a similar thread on here a few weeks ago ....(do a search on forum for smoking !)

first - smoking laws apply to work place and "Public" areas so do not see why you shoud need to put up signs ....?

If smoke is finding way through extractor system -is this covered by freeholder in lease ? if so get them to sort out problem ...if not then vinyl flooring silicone to skirting/walls and decorators caulk to seal skirting to walls should seal smoke "out"

If problem persists then, if building is non smoking then give tenant agents tel no - and get them to ring every single time the can smell smoke - "the squeakiest hinge will get the oil" and agent will soon get pxxxxd off and ort problem out !!


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my Q3 2007 copy of Successful Renting has just been delivered.

By coincidence there is a very interesting article by Mike Stimpson(P25) on what does and does not constitute a smoke free area. This is in relation to comunal stairways in HMO's.

Seems certain situations require signs and others not.

The local authority has the power to fine landlords up to £200 (reduced to £150 if paid within 15 days) for not fitting the correct signage.

...and to fail to prevent smoking you can also "be prosecuted and face a fine of up to £2500"

Very interesting article,

best wishes


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Thanks for the replies so far. The other smoking thread seems to be about stopping "your tenant" smoking, as opposed to those surrounding your tenant, so I hope this warrants a thread of its own :angry:

My tenant has told me she has seen the person smoking (next to the window) from outside the building. She asked me if she should try to get photographic proof - but Im unsure of the situation legally - does anyone know if its worthwhile obtaining this proof? And if so how it could be used to our advantage.


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Ahhh smeg....

The freeholder says its a non smoking building but its not her problem if people smoke and doesnt care, she thinks the smoke is coming from a wood burner or alike, and the landlord for the flat below says its a non smoking flat, but he isnt prepared to kick up a fuss about it as he has friends living there.

We do have video proof of the people below the flat smoking, but there seems to be very little light at the end of the tunnel :huh:

Thanks for the advice up to now :)

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