My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

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My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby TeresaFoodie » February 26th, 2018, 7:48 am

For over ten years in England it has been illegal to smoke in public places. What a lovely law and a lovely ten years of being able to breathe more freely.

http://www.smokefreeengland.co.uk/

I was brought up in amongst a family of chain smokers, except for my uncle. Nan, granddad, mum, dad and now sister. I have never smoked a cigarette in my life, never been tempted, so thankfully I am not in the grip of addiction, but to a point do understand that addiction.

Up until 2007 I would never go into a pub or other social gathering where people were likely to be smoking. In my first office job after college everyone smoked and I'd go home every evening sticking of smoke, having to shower to get the smell out of my hair, would have sore eyes, sore throat, head aches. Disgusting!

In this shared block where I live we have a no smoking policy. It is in our tenancy agreement along with other things we are not allowed to do or must do. There are no 'no smoking' signs in the building. We are four bedsits, three of which, including me, temporary accommodation arranged by the council but looked after by a letting agent. One tenant rents privately through the landlord directly. In fact he does 'odd jobs' for him sometimes including things that need fixing in this building. He smokes in his flat, and so do his visitors, heavily. His flat is underneath mine so I bear the brunt of it in the shared lobby, landing and also in my flat as it comes up through the floorboards.

I have on at least three occasions approached the letting agent about this as I am now going through the experience I had years ago at work. My clothes smell (we have no laundry facilities!), headaches, eyes, throat, coughing, sore lips. Last week he came up to do some repairs up in the loft so I braved up to him (politely) and told him what this was doing to me. He said the landlord has spoken to him but even so he feels as he is a paying tenant the rules do not apply to him! Cheek! I don't want to fall out with anyone, but even more so I do not want to sit here suffering! When I pointed out that in a shared building we all have to be considerate, he said he can hear me walking about through his ceiling! So now while I choke on his smoke I feel I have to tip toe around!

My plan was to phone the letting agent at 9am but I might phone the helpline on the link first. I'm not getting anywhere!

Also, I am sure there is more than just tobacco going on down there. :td:

Have you been in this sort of situation before? If so, how did you deal with it?
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby scullion » February 26th, 2018, 10:34 am

Is it possible!e for you to change your accommodation? Can you go back to whoever found your present place for you and explain your circumstances?
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby suffolk » February 26th, 2018, 11:06 am

From this https://www.pims.co.uk/smoking-in-rented-property/ it looks as if your first recourse is to the Local Authority

"...Most Local authorities will have a "smoke free officer" who will be able to help with queries on all things to do with the Smoke Free laws. If members of the public have any issues that they wish to clarify about how it affects them where they live, then they should, first of all, contact their Local Authority. ..."
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby Pepper Pig » February 26th, 2018, 11:41 am

I'd be more worried about the fire hazard. Are there fire doors fitted everywhere? I wonder if the landlord might take more notice if he was told they had to be installed?
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby Bubbles » February 26th, 2018, 11:52 am

I don't really have any experience of this but I would hate this! Hope you can get something done. Can you raise it with the health professional you are meeting today? It sounds as though it is affecting your health - maybe an allergy? If you have bare floorboards can you borrow some rugs or get some on free cycle?
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby earthmaiden » February 26th, 2018, 12:27 pm

I was thinking along the lines of PP. If there is a no smoking policy it is possibly related more to insurance requirements and fire regulations than caring about tenants. If so. you have a good case.

We have become so used to no smoking laws. It always takes me by surprise now if I catch a whiff of smoke in a closed public place yet it used to be the norm - and necessary to wash all one's clothes, hair etc after a night out. I was taken aback whilst in transit at Frankfurt airport a few years ago. They have smoking tables in walkways within the building and the smell had me looking round in surprise to see where the small was coming from.
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby TeresaFoodie » February 26th, 2018, 12:31 pm

Thank you for your replies.

I have just come home from town, puffing Billy is at work. Opened the front door, lovely and fresh all the way up to the landing, then I opened my front door and bang! It hit me. It's been trapped in here all morning as I closed my main window when I went out. So here we go again, Windows wide open, radiators back on full blast, which the landlord pays for by the way.

Just when I thought the living room was the smelliest, I went for a wee, shower room is stronger, unpacked my shopping, kitchen is stronger, probably because these two rooms are not carpeted whereas the living room is.

I have also been worrying about the fire risk. The only external door other than the main front door is the back door which doesn't open! We have no other ways of getting out other than jumping out of a window.

I tried the number on both links (0800 587 1667) and it tells me I have dialled an incorrect number. Grr! I might have to go back to the letting agent again as this has got to change!
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby Busybee » February 26th, 2018, 12:57 pm

It sounds as if you live in what is termed a HMO, that is a house in multiple occupancy. I.e more than two adults who are not related living in a property and as such there are strict regulations regarding fire. For example one regulation is there being a central fire alarm system and fire doors in situ etc. A landlord has to fulfill all conditions to gain certification to rent in these circumstances. The local council issues such certificates after inspection. The fact that the local authority placed you in the accommodation would doubly suggest that the building adheres to all regulations including fire.

Where to go? I’m not sure, I’d try the council licensing department to see if having no smoking tenants is a condition of the license, I don’t know but I’d suspect it isn’t.

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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby Pepper Pig » February 26th, 2018, 1:06 pm

That was where I was coming from BB. But if Fire Doors are in place, as they should be, I'm not sure Teresa has any redress with the landlord.
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby Bubbles » February 26th, 2018, 1:07 pm

One thing you may wish to consider is to write an actual letter to the letting agents and copied to,the landlord, stating the
facts and requesting action in the form of a letter to the tenant who is causing the problems. Mention that is affecting your health, mental and physical. Ask for the situation to be rectified within say a week from date of letter.
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby earthmaiden » February 26th, 2018, 2:08 pm

Busybee wrote: Where to go? I’m not sure, I’d try the council licensing department to see if having no smoking tenants is a condition of the license, I don’t know but I’d suspect it isn’t. BB

At my place of work, the smoking shelter was situated at the side of the multi-storey car park. People abused the rules and were often found smoking in the car park (which is warmer) which of course is a huge fire risk. When insurance inspectors came unannounced to inspect the premises recently they threatened to withdraw the cover immediately which would have meant us having to vacate the building. A deal was done where arrangements were made to move the shelter right away from the area and staff now face dismissal if caught smoking near the car park. This of course is subject to subsequent snap insurance inspections. If smoking isn't mentioned in the council licence, there may be still be insurance somewhere which would be invalid if rules were not being observed and would mean that the landlord had a lot to lose if there was a fire.
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby TeresaFoodie » February 26th, 2018, 3:37 pm

I have obtained the email address from the letting agent website and emailed them suggesting they get back to me within 7 days.

Watch this space.....
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby TeresaFoodie » March 8th, 2018, 6:44 pm

Update. The email was sent out, highlighting the health issues, fire hazards and basically anti social smoking in a shared occupancy, also the smoker's downright pig ignorant attitude, and I immediately had a reply telling me that they had written to him and they would speak to the landlord again. The smoking stopped.

It lasted four days. On day two you should have seen what I blew out of my nose. It was not nice but it felt good. It started again when the bad weather hit. I spent that weekend coughing, sneezing, blowing my nose, nursing a headache etc, thought maybe they were puffing out of the window because it was so cold out, plus our heating pipes froze so it was cold in, but I still phoned them Monday morning to let them know. Their response was that they would let the landlord know, other than that their hands are tied as he is not their tenant. That sounds like poppy cock to me. They also said maybe I should consider approaching the council to see if I can be moved! She then reminded me that the council is low on housing at the moment so it probably won't happen. Yeah,thanks for that. So in other words I'm stuck with it.

Anyway, again, nothing for two days apart from very late night ciggies just as I am about to go to sleep. This afternoon 3pm in it wafts.

This will be on the list of things I need to speak to CAB about next Wednesday. I'm not having this.

Watch this fug filled space. :evil:
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby Pepper Pig » March 8th, 2018, 7:12 pm

But sometimes Teresa it’s not just about you.

And I have to add that number 2 daughter suffers with ulcerative colitis. The only thing that gives her any respite from the flare ups is smoking. I know this is not PC and she is embarrassed by this - none of my kids have carried on smoking after their initial experiments. She is pregnant again and as such has had to give up the ciggies. She is enduring terrible pain.
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby suffolk » March 8th, 2018, 8:41 pm

But it's not just about Tezza's personal preference .......... it's about her health .......... passive smoking is seriously bad for you ..... not only can it cause lung and other cancers, COPD, heart disease and other life limiting health conditions, there is now evidence that it causes macular degeneration ........... no one should have to lose their sight because of how someone else chooses to behave

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases ... 121605.php
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby WWordsworth » March 8th, 2018, 9:00 pm

My pal has Crohns disease and has taken up smoking again as it relieves the symptoms.
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby suffolk » March 8th, 2018, 9:20 pm

It's sad but true that smoking can relieve some of the symptoms of Crohns/ulcerative colitis ..... and we know the problems that people with that condition have to face .... a couple of years ago we lost a very dear and highly talented friend who was still in his early forties, due to that horrible horrible illness.

However, I still say that no one should be made to risk their health due to passive smoking ... and there has been no suggestion that Tezza's neighbour is using nicotine to self-medicate a serious condition.

I hope that Tezza isn't going to feel guilty simply because she's taking quite reasonable steps to improve her own living conditions and safeguard her health. I believe she is only doing what most of us would do in her circumstances.

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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby TeresaFoodie » March 9th, 2018, 12:05 am

Thank you for your link suffs about smoke damage to eyes. This is an eye opener!

I have Blepharitis and the selfishness of a casual smoker is making steroid eye drops and daily eye hygiene courtesy of myself, my GP and eye clinic at the amazing L&D, pointless. Wasted time in consultations, car parking charges, prescriptions, worry about my blurred vision, maybe for the rest of my life, a DVLA ban, specialists lenses so I can at least see where I am going, all at the moment worsened by one selfish person who thinks he is above the smoking ban 2007 and can basically fill my flat and eyes with his selfish habit? Nah, doesn't wash. No excuse. Go outside and please yourself.

There may be an element of hiding what they're also smoking alongside the tobacco when it comes to smoking outside and getting caught with such substances. But then that could be medicinal too so okay?
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby Busybee » March 9th, 2018, 7:56 am

One thing to remember in relation to the smoking ban........it does not apply in private homes. Unless there is a clause in his tenancy agreement specifically prohibiting smoking I think you could be on a hiding to nothing.

My managing agent always reminds landlords that you can not dictate how a tenant lives, as long as the property is returned at the end of the tenancy in the condition it was at the beginning ( minus fair wear and tear) then that’s it.

Why not look at the problem from another perspective? You mention that the man downstairs can hear you moving around and that smoke is coming up through the floorboards, why not ask for carpeting? That might solve both issues?

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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby Gruney » March 9th, 2018, 8:40 am

TeresaFoodie wrote:and can basically fill my flat and eyes with his selfish habit?


There must be huge holes in his ceiling, and very wide gaps in your floorboards for this to be so?
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby TeresaFoodie » March 9th, 2018, 8:50 am

I have tried three times to reply to BB's post, my internet keeps closing. I'll try later.

Yes, there are huge gaps in the floorboards and general structure of this building. It needs ripping down if you ask me! I wouldn't want to own it. It's an accident waiting to happen. Probably a fire.
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby Ratatouille » March 9th, 2018, 10:39 am

TeresaFoodie wrote:I
Yes, there are huge gaps in the floorboards and general structure of this building. It needs ripping down if you ask me! I wouldn't want to own it. It's an accident waiting to happen. Probably a fire.


In that case the smoke alarms can;t be properly installed Tezza, or perhaps they have been disconnected in the vacinity of his flat? Have you asked the local fire service to check and advise?
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby TeresaFoodie » March 9th, 2018, 12:00 pm

I hadn't though of smoke alarms, in fact I didn't even think they would go off for cigarette smoke. I know the other chap downstairs burns his food quite often so his alarm works. It's always going off with shouts of 'It's okay! It's just my toast!' or whatever it is he's burnt. I've never heard any of the other alarms go off. I know for a fact that over the course of the last year they haven't been tested. Actually, if there was a fire in any part of the building shouldn't all the alarms go off? What if someone up here was seriously hard of hearing and unable to hear a downstairs alarm? In a multiple occupancy building where there SHOULD be NO smoking ANYWHERE, shouldn't the alarms be linked? Ooh, the plot thickens along with the smog! I'll be looking into that. The fire service would be the ones to ask if I am unable to Google it.
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby earthmaiden » March 9th, 2018, 1:09 pm

As was said in earlier posts. We have been led to believe that there is a no smoking policy for tenants. This will be for a reason - and it doesn't sound as though the landlord would be too bothered to do it just out of thoughtfulness for the comfort of residents. That means there is another reason, I'd guess either fire regulations or insurance. If you can find out which, then you can threaten to go to the relevant party - or actually go. I think a fire inspection might be in order (I live in an area where unscrupulous landlords convert to HMOs illegally and don't follow regulations unless they are caught, it is quite common) but can imagine you could be fearful of the consequences.
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby TeresaFoodie » March 9th, 2018, 11:01 pm

At this stage, you have hit the nail on the head EM.

I renewed my bus pass at the town hall today, and mentioned this at reception. First step, speak to letting agent and get it in writing. Done. Next step, phone Housing at the town hall who may need to get environmental involved.

It is a tough one whichever way you look at it.
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby sueturnersmith » March 10th, 2018, 1:28 am

Please think very carefully about what you are doing, Tessa. You may have the law on your side, but the landlord is the property owner. You could find yourself out on the streets, homeless!
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby TeresaFoodie » March 10th, 2018, 7:38 am

I get that Sue, thank you :hug: This is my main dilemma. :hug:

Really appreciate constructive advice on the subject.

My family know how much this is affecting my health and undoing a lot of the good done by NHS. They can first off see it in my puffy eyes! It's annoying that one selfish person has to make me choose between taking this further and end up kipping in a bus shelter losing everything, again! Or sit here choking.

What an a-hole!
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby scullion » March 10th, 2018, 11:14 am

Pepper Pig wrote:But sometimes Teresa it’s not just about you.

And I have to add that number 2 daughter suffers with ulcerative colitis. The only thing that gives her any respite from the flare ups is smoking. I know this is not PC and she is embarrassed by this - none of my kids have carried on smoking after their initial experiments. She is pregnant again and as such has had to give up the ciggies. She is enduring terrible pain.


totally irrelevant.
it is just about tezza and her health. she does not have to adapt to the way someone else choses to live - whether they have a medical problem that they chose to self medicate with smoking or not is also irrelevant.
tezza is responsible for her own wellbeing and is, quite rightly, taking measures to protect it.
passive smoking kills. why accept the risk - or possible future increase in expense for the health service?
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby mogatogs » March 10th, 2018, 3:04 pm

Afternoon,

It is also up to Tessa to decide enough is enough and inform whoever placed her there, she needs a smoke free environment, so much complaining about everything just gets put down to 'not another!' and filed, - so Tessa if you dislike your situation speak to who placed you there and formally request rehousing.

Sorry not being cruel, unsympathetic or whatever but realistic :hug:
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby TeresaFoodie » March 10th, 2018, 3:20 pm

Thanks both. Yes, I get the feeling I could moan and groan until the cows come home, nothing will change. Mog - your comment will form part of the conversation I will have with housing on Monday.
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby mogatogs » March 10th, 2018, 4:21 pm

:hug: :hug:
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby Pepper Pig » March 10th, 2018, 4:45 pm

TeresaFoodie wrote:Thanks both. Yes, I get the feeling I could moan and groan until the cows come home, nothing will change. Mog - your comment will form part of the conversation I will have with housing on Monday.


As long as you are 100% sure of your facts when you set all this in motion you should be fine. Unfortunately there are things in the past where you have complained vociferously on here about your neighbours noise/ pet care which don’t seem to have been resolved or, if so, you haven’t reported.
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby Prettykiwicrazy » March 10th, 2018, 5:19 pm

Is this the same neighbour who's mentally ill and abusive or a different one?

As his tenancy is set up differently to yours, it may not mention smoking is prohibited in his flat. Also if he snoked outside, which he is entirely entitled to do so, then by the sounds of your extreme physical reactions to it and the affect it has on your flat, it would still have an impact on you.

So, it either needs to be tolerated, or you ask to be rehoused. If it's affecting your health that drastically , ask for a supporting letter from your GP
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby TeresaFoodie » March 10th, 2018, 6:35 pm

This is a different neighbour! The poor abusive soul up here is now receiving the help he has obviously needed since he moved here, so that little problem has had a good outcome with the right support. And FYI PP, I had another nuisance downstairs last summer who was not only smoking happy stuff all day and night but was constantly smashing his flat up, took his own front door off the hinges, playing loud music all hours, moved his GF in (single tenant residences only), had a cat (no pets allowed, I had to rehome mine) which riddled the whole building with fleas (needed flea bombing!) and when two of us called the police because it really sounded like they were killing each other down there, their visit to check all was ok resulted in screams up the communal stairway of 'You F'ing grasses!!!!!' They were very quickly evicted.

I will phone housing and GP and speak CAB next week.

Thankfully I have one of the best neighbours I have ever had living opposite Puffing Billy. Yesterday he gave me a load of leeks and potatoes, I made us both soup with them and garlic bread today and he just brought me up a massive punnet of strawberries. So it's not all bad, thankfully. I can tolerate most things, but when it affects my health I draw the line, and this is why one way or another it needs to be sorted.
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby northleedsbhoy » March 10th, 2018, 10:54 pm

Problem is that the flat he has is rented privately by the landlord and you've said he pays rent to him therefore subject to his rules rather than the letting agent/council. So although it might be barred in the other flats it's up to the landlord what he allows in his privately rented flat. Had the premises been under the total control of the letting agent that would be a different story altogether. In the first instance it's the landlord you need to get in touch with and ask what his rules are because otherwise I don't think there's anything you can do about the situation.

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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby TeresaFoodie » March 11th, 2018, 12:50 am

Sorry but there is absolutely nobody in this country who is exempt from the no smoking in public places law no matter their status within the housing structure of our society. Why would there be? It wouldn't be a law worth having! It's like saying, no drink driving over a certain limit of alcohol, unless you have a car worth over 'x' value then you can do what you like and there's nothing the law can do and sod the family who just lost their child when you ploughed into them. Okay to go on the rampage with a gun if you have a firearm licence?

There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for what this person is doing.

And if he moves out and somebody else moves in and does the same then I'll complain again while I am still living here.
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby TeresaFoodie » March 11th, 2018, 1:07 am

Also, my tenancy agreement is with the letting agent, not the landlord. I have no contact details for the landlord. I've met him several times when he has attended to any problems, for example our pipes freezing recently, and very nice he seems to be too, but I do not know his name or phone number, no need, the agent is my first and only port of call.

Another way of looking at this. It is probably in his interest to keep good tenants happy if they live here trouble free, report problems when they occur, don't cause a fire or annoying flea hazard and don't rip the carp out of his property and it's contents. After all, a council / temporary tenant is guaranteed weekly rent income, unlike private renting where you lose your job you invariably can't pay your rent.
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby Busybee » March 11th, 2018, 9:15 am

But the point you are missing Tezza is that he is smoking in his privately rented flat, his home and as such exempt from the smoking ban. He is not smoking in a public place.

I’m not trying to be nasty, but trying to point out the realities of the situation.

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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby suffolk » March 11th, 2018, 10:16 am

A landlord has a responsibility to ensure that property he/she lets is free from health hazards ... second-hand smoke is an established health hazard. Shelter's website advises that Tezza's first recourse should be to whoever arranged for her to be placed her in that property, the Letting Agents and/or Environmental Health ... their recourse is to the property owner ... a GP's letter may be helpful.

I know this link is US based but it shows some ways in which the smoke may be entering your home http://housecraft.ca/how-to-stop-cigare ... our-house/
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby PatsyMFagan » March 11th, 2018, 10:18 am

Busybee wrote:But the point you are missing Tezza is that he is smoking in his privately rented flat, his home and as such exempt from the smoking ban. He is not smoking in a public place.

I’m not trying to be nasty, but trying to point out the realities of the situation.

BB


I was going to say the same thing ... Where he lives is not a 'Public Place' . As far as I can see the only card you can play is the Fire Safety one ... If this is a HoMo (House of Multiple Occupancy), there are laws regarding fire escapes and fire doors... but each room/bedsit is someone's (private) space.
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Re: My passive smoking annoyance - your experience?

Postby suffolk » March 11th, 2018, 10:24 am

I think the thing for Tezza to stress is not that she want to stop her neighbour smoking ... she just wants the smoke to stop entering her home ... the landlord can either provide sealants/filtration equipment etc if he values the deal he obviously has with the Letting Agency to find his tenants, or the Local Authority Service (Social Services?) which commissioned the Letting Agency to find Tezza a suitable home can find her somewhere safe that won't permanently damage her health as is currently the case ..... a supporting letter from the GP to Social Services will probably nudge things along.
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