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Can my board legally charge odor fee?May 15, 2020

I own a co op apartment in the county of Westchester, NY, which I am currently subletting to a young couple. Apparently, the couple vape Marijuana and some neighbors have complained. I resided in that apartment for over 15 years and people have always smoked and now suddenly this is problem. I am totally against vaping but that is irrelevant. I have discussed this situation with my tenant since the first complain received from management and he apologized, owing up to it. A few month later, there was a second complain, and he again apologized. There was a third time, which he denied. My board is now charging me $800.00, a fee for odor issue. Can my board legally charge this fee?

I am feeling discriminated and targeted. A few weeks ago I went to the building to visit a friend whose apartment is located at the rear side of the building, which has its own entrance .To my surprise the smell of Marijuana was present. When I spoke to the board about this, they stated that no one has complained therefore they don't have any report on file. In other words, there is nothing they can do. Please advice!

Join the Conversation Comments (2)
Can my board legally charge odor fee? - peoples choice #1 May 15, 2020

Question: Does your renters have a Medical Marijuana card? If yes your board can not say anything nor charge you for odors. Building has a # of odors Like cooking, smoking and painting and construction.
Medical Marijuana (Vaping does not smell ) nor does vaping smoking cigarets I know this for a fact.
Sounds like someone doesn't like your renter. Before you fight this check if they have a medical card. The board can not charge for something that is legal. Good luck and let us know what happens.

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Can my board legally charge odor fee? - Steven424 May 16, 2020

In addition to PC #1's good suggestions, I would recommend you check your co-op's House Rules for a no-smoking clause. One might have been added recently, although as a shareholder you should have been notified at the time.

Co-ops and condos must abide by a Warranty of Habitability. This is law which states in effect that in multi-unit buildings, it is the responsibility of the landlord (or co-op board or HOA) to insure each unit is habitable. You should check the Warranty of Habitability for Westchester to understand exactly what it says.

Second-hand smoke of any sort is the major habitability complaint. It sounds like in the building you visited, everyone was cool with the marijuana smoke so no one complained. In the building housing your sublet unit, some shareholders are not so understanding. But they will most likely prevail if this becomes a legal matter.

I don't think you or your sublet are being targeted. The fact your sublet smoked a second time after being warned affects his credibility. If a unit owner once again smells MJ smoke, it is not too difficult for them to arrange with a board member to visit the unit owner's apartment while the MJ odors are present. The board also has the right to enter your sublet's apartment at the same moment in time to sniff for tell-tail traces of MJ smoke.

The best thing you can do is warn your sublet against smoking anything. Period. Then be proactive. Notify the board that if they receive another complaint, you would like a board member to immediately visit your unit to see if any aromas are present. Incense and other aromatics will only decrease credibility further.

Please be aware that I am not an attorney, and what I wrote above is worth what you paid for them.

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