Neighbors Smoke? American Lung Association May Help You Break Your Apartment Lease

Categories: Environment

no_smoking.jpg
Wikimedia Commons / pmox
According to the American Lung Association, a Deerfield Beach couple, Amaury and Renata Rosa, were expecting a baby. But when Renata was eight months along in her pregnancy, they began to seriously worry that secondhand smoke from a neighbor's apartment could hurt the unborn child. Secondhand smoke has been linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and respiratory problems in kids.

When the neighbors essentially said, "Sorry, but our lease allows us to smoke here," the ALA helped the couple approach the property managers to suggest transitioning to a smoke-free building. They said no.

So the ALA helped the couple look for a legal way out of their lease.

The ALA has been working in partnership with the Broward Regional Health Planning Council's TOUCH (Transforming Our Community's Health) initiative to encourage buildings to go smoke-free.

According to TOUCH, "Matthew Competiello, Program Manager, American Lung Association in Florida, provided the property managers with information about the dangers of secondhand smoke, the financial and health benefits of transitioning to a 'smoke free' complex, and the relevant information related to the Federal Fair Housing Act. Amaury and Renata were persistent and chose the health of their unborn child over their home -- with a letter from their doctor and using Fair Housing laws as justification -- they moved, finding a healthier, smoke-free living alternative with minimal economic hardship in the process."

If you find yourself in a similar situation, here's info on how you too can try to wiggle out of the lease.




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2 comments
mj.competiello
mj.competiello

My name is Matthew Competiello and I am the program manager for the ALA (as mentioned in this article). If secondhand smoke is seeping into your apartment unit or condo from a neighboring unit, please contact our American Lung Association Fort Lauderdale office: (800) LUNG-USA.  I would be happy to help in anyway I can.  Additionally, if you are a landlord or property manager interested in smoke-free housing policies (which essentially contractually requires your tenants not to smoke inside the unit), I can help.  All of our services are free.  Don't let your profits go up in smoke! 

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