Neighbours and smoking outside

(28 Posts)
chicaguapa Wed 10-Jul-13 20:53:16

Our neighbours smoke in their garden and it comes in our windows. We also can't eat outside because when they light up, it puts us off our food. There are 3 of them; mother and two daughters, all smokers, so there's a fair regularity of this starting from 6am and up to after midnight.

I can smell it in any room in the house, not just the ones at the back. And if the windows are closed, it still comes in through the vents at the top and we can smell they're outside if we're in the room. I should also add that we're in a town house so the living room is on the first floor, which makes it worse as the smoke rises and come in though the window. It also does this in DS's room on the top floor. hmm

But I know IABU to be annoyed by this because they have the right to smoke in their garden and any outdoor space they want to do this in.

So does this right extend to music in my garden? I'm so wound up with having to sit in the house on a sweltering day with the windows closed, because of next door's filthy habit, that maybe I don't want to be a considerate neighbour anymore.

I would like to put the radio on the kitchen window sill and turn it up loud enough so I can hear it when I'm sitting in the garden. Not all day, but periodically during the day when I want to sit outside. Of course, it would be quieter than the noise limit that neighbours are allowed to make, so that it's legal, just like smoking in the garden is. But they'd probably be able to hear it in their house, especially with the windows open, and they might need to close the living room window when they're watching telly.

The irony of not actually enjoying sitting out in my garden anyway, even with music, because it smells like a pub garden isn't lost on me. smile And of course I wouldn't do this anyway.

But I would just be interested to explore the boundaries of what is ok as a considerate neighbour and what is ok because it's legal and because you have the right to do what you want in your own space. Maybe IABU to even consider the question and for thinking smoking and listening to music outside are the same thing, who knows? confused

woodlandrealm Fri 21-Mar-14 15:09:07

I have the same problem, everything was wonderful at our new house, and a month after we moved in we got new neighbors that have destroyed our peace with cigarette smoke ever since. We went through the passive aggressive window slamming phase because there was nothing else I could think of to do. I get an immediate headache when coming into contact with cigarette smoke, and sometimes begin to sneeze uncontrollably. The smoke wafts over to our yard, to the point where we can’t enjoy eating on our deck, or even gardening. Worse it gets sucked into our house when the windows and doors are open, filling the room with the scent, this issue is the most frustrating at night, when smoke fills our bedroom. We can’t just leave our windows shut, through the summer it soon becomes unbearably hot inside, and we moved here for this weather, so it brings me near to tears to lose access to that wonderful air. On top of all that, the smoke also comes through our vents somehow, so even through a freezing winter, when every window is shut tight, our kitchen will fill with the smell of smoke, and we got written up for it on our last inspection. The rental company gave us a first warning this fall to remember that no smoking is allowed in the house, because the inspector “detected a lingering smell of cigarette smoke inside the house.”

I finally wrote a very polite note to the smoker asking if he could smoke around the side of his house where his car is parked: “When you smoke in front of your house, or in your backyard the smoke is easily carried on the wind over to us, so we are hoping that if you stand around the corner of your house, that the smell will disperse somewhat before it gets to our yard. I know this is your home, usually the one place you can do whatever you feel like in peace, and I wouldn’t be bothering you if this was a problem with occasional smells from your property to ours, but this is a constant presence. This affects our everyday life, especially through the coming spring and summer months.” We are not even hopeful that will take care of the problem, but it should help.

When he continued to smoke out front by our property line and in his backyard by our garden, I talked to him, and asked if he got the note. He said that he would try to smoke around the corner, but that he will continue to smoke out front “when I get home from work, and late at night, and early in the morning”. So basically even though his phrasing was nice, his tone was mean, and his underlying message was forget it, I’m smoking right here no matter what you say.

I’ve been searching all morning for revenge, and I think I’ve got it. I can set up a battery powered fan on a little table, spray some nasty liquid on it, then turn it on toward his smoking spot. If he starts up a conversation about it, I can politely tell him that if he was around the corner of his house he would not be able to smell it as bad! :D
here is the gross liquid: http://www.liquidass.com/neighbor_revenge.html

chicaguapa Thu 11-Jul-13 22:01:08

We didn't even ask them to move. DH just wanted to open a discussion about it. confused

Is this social equivalent of herd immunity? Where the inconsiderate get to live in a civilised society created by those who are considerate?

HaroldLloyd Thu 11-Jul-13 21:08:59

I dont think your being unreasonable to ask they could just move a little further down the garden couldnt they,

Sounds like your on a hiding to nothing though.

chicaguapa Thu 11-Jul-13 20:59:10

My very reasonable & calm DH went round to speak to them and said he just wanted to let them know that the smoke was coming into our house and it was bothering us. The daughter just said that he should keep his windows closed then. He said that's fine but in the summer he'd like to be able to open the windows. So then she rather bizarrely said 'well at least we own our house' and slammed the door in his face. confused We own our house in another town but can't sell it so we let it out and rent our current one. Quite what that has to do with their smoke coming in our house is beyond me.

So anyway no progress made. sad

RoseFlowerFairy Thu 11-Jul-13 09:11:55

I think some people will get the rage if you tell them what to do, some will get the rage if you ask them nicely, some will get the rage if you use passive aggressive methods, you won't know what will rage your particular neighbour unless you deal with the problem they are causing.

I think if it was me, I would go with the idea of placing a small fan by the window and when they smoke, blow the smoke away from the house. I don't think that is passive aggressive, I think it is a sensible solution.

WandaDoff Thu 11-Jul-13 09:03:30

I definitely think that a polite friendly conversation explaining the problem & asking nicely if they would smoke at the other end of the garden would work FAR better than loud PA comments & window slamming. hmm

We have neighbours that smoke. it wafts into our house but doesn't bother us too much. why? well we have massive pot head neighbours the other side. that stuff comes into our house when the windows and doors are closed. my kids bedrooms reek of it. and it doesn't dissipate the same way cigarette smoke does. when we can smell the ciggie stuff we know the pot heads are giving it a rest!

LogonMounstuart Wed 10-Jul-13 23:40:22

I feel your pain. We have NDN who smoke outside. In this weather we either swelter with the windows shut or our house is full of their smoke. It particularly bothers me as I have a newborn and a toddler.

I am always tempted to take revenge e.g. letting DS play with his musical instruments at 6am the morning after NDNs have kept us awake all night. But as I have to keep reminding myself we have other neighbours who are not horrid and anti social and it wouldn't be fair on them.

Smoking is inherently selfish. They are doing something that will probably kill them. That means children/friends/parents caring for/worrying about someone who is terminally ill, grieving them, dealing with them choosing to die before they need to by smoking. If they are not bothered by this they are not likely to be bothered by being bad neighbours.

YoniWheretheSunDontShine Wed 10-Jul-13 23:09:18

Yes electric but its also about smoking in close proximity to children which people are doing even if they are smoking next door, they smoke by their back door and your dc get their smoke.

smoking people need to realise its an issue and need to be made to think about their actions.

dont ask them to move away from the house, let them sort out how they will solve the problem, just say its bothering you.

this comes from an ex smoker who smoked without realising the impact, and as a now non smoker who had a smoke problem next door that was solved by exactly my own advice.

lessonsintightropes Wed 10-Jul-13 22:56:10

Not unreasonable to ask them to move further away from the house, but unreasonable to expect them not to smoke in their garden at all. I understand it's annoying, but passive-aggressively slamming windows isn't necessarily the best way of resolving the issue (sorry if this sounds harsh but personally I really prefer it if someone wants to change a situation if they speak up and explain what the problem is rather than being huffy and expecting the other party to telepathically realise what is going on).

WeleaseWodger Wed 10-Jul-13 22:03:52

Get some horrid smelling incense and start burning it every time they come out to light up.

I'd be full of rage and have bought a big bleapin fan, directed at their garden and would turn it on every time they went out to light up.

Shitsinger Wed 10-Jul-13 22:00:37

Place fans at your window facing out
It will blow the smell away .

specialsubject Wed 10-Jul-13 21:56:46

aha, the invisible curtain thing. And a smoker here has actually said as much. They all believe that there is a magic force field that means as long as you have one foot outside, the reek won't come in to the house. Scary what the stuff does to the brain. For most of us it is BLOODY OBVIOUS THAT SMELL TRAVELS.

explain politely that the smoke is drifting in and you would appreciate it if they moved away from the house.

ElectricSoftParade Wed 10-Jul-13 21:54:40

Or the advert is suggesting smoking outdoors or stopping.

ElectricSoftParade Wed 10-Jul-13 21:53:54

But the advert about smoking is, I think, asking people to smoke outdoors hmm.

While it isn't lovely it still isn't illegal to smoke but I do think having a calm conversation about how much it is affecting you is the way forward.

YoniWheretheSunDontShine Wed 10-Jul-13 21:49:51

dont tell them where to move, thats not your concern or problem and not your business.

simply say in a really nice way - that you are soooo sorry to mention this - and you wouldn't say anything if it wasn't becoming such a problem but that the smell of the smoke is really bad and its badly affecting you in hot weather. Would it be possible to smoke away from the windows, or waft it away.

I think many people are affected with smoke drift and I think contacting one of the smoking charities to complain about it may help them realise the extent of the problem or the dept of health.

Personally i think ads should come out about it - like the one at the moment on people smoking by the back door.

ElectricSoftParade Wed 10-Jul-13 21:42:51

I honestly don't know. I am a smoker and I smoke in my garden. If my NDN was making loud comments, like the PP above, it would actually make me feel angry. Perhaps you could just try to talk to the NDN and her DDs, they may feel you have no right to ask them to move but at least talking to them is not so PA.

You never know, they may well move and all of you involved could be a bit happier.

Feelslikea1sttimer Wed 10-Jul-13 21:37:03

I would maybe say that whilst the weather is nice could they Shuffle down the garden and say that when its raining you understand they may want shelter...
But if you are reasonable and ask nicely I'm sure they'd move, I would.

TiredFeet Wed 10-Jul-13 21:34:16

totally sympathise. our neighbours smoke in the back garden and it is a complete pain, means I am reluctant to open the windows at the back of the house and then when ds and I are out trying to enjoy the sunshine in the back garden it is really depressing to smell the smoke drifting over, especially as he is tiny and vulnerable to asthma and I am pregnant. I don't quite dare confront them but I am fed up!

HerrenaHarridan Wed 10-Jul-13 21:31:15

In not your neighbour but if I was hints would give me the rage and make me behave like a dick.

Politely being asked if I would mind repositioning myself would make me feel obliged to cooperate.

I don't even smoke anymore, but I've always hated being hinted at

Turniptwirl Wed 10-Jul-13 21:22:52

My housemate sometimes smokes weed in the garden and i smell it from my top floor bedroom. Much preferable to my previous housemate who smoked it her bedroom which happened to be next to mine and filled the while top half of the house with the smell!

My friend used to smoke and her nonsmoking parents made her stand on the balcony with the patio door shut so they couldn't smell it

If you generally get on with them you could try mentioning it but you can't really ask them to do anything about it, just hope they get the hint and offer to smoke further away from to house so at least you can't smell it indoors.

chicaguapa Wed 10-Jul-13 21:10:15

I slam closed shut our windows when they're smoking. Once we were outside about to have tea and DD announced loudly that she couldn't eat outside because it stinks so I told her (not quietly) that she could go inside. So I'd be surprised if they had no idea at all tbh.

chicaguapa Wed 10-Jul-13 21:05:32

DH says there's no point in speaking to them as it's a big ask to see if they'll move to the end of the garden. I just want them to know how it affects us as, like you say, they're not telepathic. grin

I can't go round as I've left it too late and am too annoyed by it. DH is more polite level headed.

McNewPants2013 Wed 10-Jul-13 21:02:31

Luckily both my NDN smoke so I don't have a problem, but if it was I would move away.

Speak to them.

Thurlow Wed 10-Jul-13 21:00:32

Twisty is right. I smoke, I tend to stand outside our back door and we don't have our windows open. I started to realise I could hear our neighbour shutting a window when I was outside. They never said anything but it was obviously bothering them, but if I hadn't heard the window I wouldn't have known. If they smoke they'll notice the smell of smoke in their house less, so might not realise how much it is coming into your house.

Oh, and we have the radio on outside during the day, just not loud.

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