Whose air is it?

By
Real Estate Agent with RAC Real Estate Associates, Inc.

  One sultry summer night, it was warm enough for an open window with a fan, but not so warm for use of air conditioning. I laid there enjoying the sound  of the crickets and was just about to drifting off to sleep, when a very unpleasant smell wafted in thru my windows and jolted me fully awake. The smell was so overwhelming there was no sleeping for me anytime soon until it thoroughly dissipated. I knew what it was immediately but there was nothing I could do about it.

 The summer had been so pleasant  at night there was no need to put my air conditioning unit in yet and it was not something I was going to do about it at that hour.Sleep alluded me most of that night. So in order to avoid this nightly assault I will be forced to give up the peaceful lull of the crickets and listen to the drone of an air conditioner at night. Not only an annoying thing, but also a costly adjustment on my part, but needed to get a restful night's sleep.

 The smell was from my neighbor's cigarette and her husband's very strong and smelly cigar. Their air conditioning was humming, so apparently they had stepped out on their balcony to smoke instead of smoking up their own home. How considerate of them, NOT.  Their back yard borders on my side yard, and it is a considerable distance, but the smoke does travel.  

This is a theme that seems to be universal. I read about it on real estate boards where owners are bothered by smokers on their baloneys. I read it on cruise discussion boards where people in balcony cabins have to keep their sliding doors closed to keep the smoke out from the adjacent cabins. And  of course from workers when they have to walk passed the cloud of smoke from their colleagues who are huddled outside. So then there are arguments about smoker's rights vs non smokers rights. But really who has the right to the air? When I indulge in my own vices, they never impinge on anyone else's air, aura or rights in general. so the question is, I own the property and what I do on it is private, but who owns the air?

Comments (3)

Jim Valentine
RE/MAX Realty Affiliates - Gardnerville, NV

Smokers seem to be losing ground everywhere these days. I have never smoked, but remember the days when people smoked on planes - the rest of us gasped until they were done with their indulgence.  As the air has cleaned up it is amazing out sensitive we have become to react to smoke from over a fence ... and righly so.  It is obnoxious and deadly. 

Aug 12, 2009 12:29 AM
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

You could install an outlet on the exterior of your house with an inside switch and plug a fan in there. Then when they come out to smoke, you just turn the fan on and blow the smoke back at them. See how they like second-hand smoke. We know they like first-hand smoke, but if they go out on their porch to smoke, it's possible they don't like second-hand smoke.

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours!

Nov 22, 2009 09:36 PM
Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

Hi Barbara, It would seem that if you are on YOUR deck or balcony, you should not have to be breathing in the smoke of others..yet you're right, this can be an issue with Condos or homes that are close to each other in range. Russel might be onto something with diverting the smoke back to their balcony. BTW, Is that St. Thomas in your background picture? It sure does look like my fave place to go!

Nov 26, 2011 03:53 PM