Landlord ordered to compensate tenant because of smoking neighbour

Cancer Council NSW
Landlord ordered to compensate tenant because of smoking neighbour.

A landlord was ordered to pay more than $11,000 to a tenant after second-hand smoke from a neighbour made the home unliveable.

Ms Laming and her young daughter had been renting an apartment in inner Sydney. After some time, she complained to her landlord about the smoke from a resident who was smoking in the unit below. She was concerned about the health effects on herself and her child.

The landlord did not take any action, so Ms Laming took her case to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The Tribunal agreed with Ms Laming that her unit was not fit for habitation. The Tribunal found that it was not acceptable for a tenant and a child to live in an environment which smelt of tobacco smoke, particularly when the smoke was so strong that it caused them to feel unwell.

The Tribunal ruled in her favour, stating that the landlord had failed in his responsibility to provide premises that were fit for habitation. The landlord was ordered to pay Ms Laming $11,681 in compensation for breaching the residential tenancy agreement.

The compensation included a 40% rent reduction from the commencement of the lease and compensation for packing and removalist costs Ms Laming incurred when she was forced to move out of the unit.

The tribunal said that the landlord could have asked the owners’ corporation to introduce a bylaw to ban smoking, seek an order for the smoker to stop smoking or undertake repairs to prevent smoking passing between the two units.

Laming’s landlord was fined for not providing a healthy living environment for his tenant. The Laming ruling could set precedent for many other landlords to be vulnerable to similar fines for not providing a healthy living environment for their tenants.

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