The contentious issue of smoking in apartments, which we’ve covered before, has finally made it to the DrudgeReport. This afternoon we spotted an article about a Dallas family that filed a lawsuit seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars from her former neighbor and landlord for damages incurred by smoke that had made its way into her apartment.
The plaintiff has already moved out of the townhome, filed a restraining order on the smoking neighbor and submitted a complaint under the Texas Fair Housing Act, which, if granted would extend the same protections that disabled Americans receive.
If I am interpreting this last point correctly, recognition of the plaintiff’s condition could set up a precedent whereby property owners are legally required to provide housing that would respect the specified condition. In this case, wherever the plaintiffs moved, that Dallas apartment would need to be smoke-free.
Now, we can certainly sympathize with renters who want smoke free apartments. If smoking is considered a right, then the same categorization must also extend to breathing clean air However, neither of them are rights, which unfortunately puts the landlord or property manager in the same position as the parent in the front seat of a car on a long road trip with two kids in the back trying to resolve the timeless, “Mom, Matt breathed on me!” debate. Not enviable, as instead of having to pay out in ice cream cones, property owners are liable for astronomical payouts.