….. Well, at least the titles were easy for this post. 😛
The other day I was relaxing in my condo, just watching TV, when I noticed a smell. It was mild at first, though strange, so I opened my balcony door to see if it was coming from outside. That’s when it hit me: the stink of marijuana. I looked over, and sure enough, my neighbour was toking up out on his balcony chair. Hating the smell myself, I went back inside, and shut the door.
The problem is, my vents never shut off. I can turn my heating/cooling system off, but even doing that will not stop the general air flow. I really don’t know why the builders of this building thought this was a good idea. Why not be able to block smells from outside? Or filter out smells that are coming from inside the apartment? Anyway, I can’t close it. I called my concierge to let them know, and they were surprised, but said they’d send someone to look into it.
Close to midnight, I smelled the skunk again. Disgusting, but more than that; my throat was sore by the end of the night — I’m pretty sensitive to smoke smells. I called the concierge again, getting another person who recommended I call the property management office.
So the next day, I call the property management office, and their suggestion was to call the front desk concierge each time it happens, and they’ll make a report for each time, then when they have enough reports, they’ll send the perpetrator a letter. I reminded them that this wasn’t just an annoyance because of cigarette smoke, this was marijuana, hoping to elicit a more speedy measure of dealing with this. I was transferred, had to explain it all again, and was assured they would receive a letter. I asked what I could do in the meantime, because I live in a bachelor-sized condo — meaning my only two options are to leave my apartment, or hang out in the hallways. She said to call the front desk and let them know. *sigh*
So today, I come home early, excited to have time to clean my place and excited because the weather was warm and sunny. I open the blinds; I open my doors. Beautiful afternoon!
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know what happens next.
I call front desk, he says he heard about the situation, and that I could call Tobacco Enforcement (though he didn’t know the number anymore, he said he used to work at a mall and that’s who they would call to handle similar situations), and that he’d let management know again. I call the number I found online for Tobacco Enforcement, which brought me to Toronto Public Health and a not-so-happy receptionist who, after my wait, told me I shouldn’t call them; I should call the police. “It’s not tobacco you’re talking about; it’s marijuana.” Thanks, public servant, you really helped me out. *double sigh*
I call front desk again, to update him that they’re not helpful, and he apologized, saying he talked to management and asked if I’d received their letter. Having just checked my mail, I knew I hadn’t, so he suggested I talk to the management lady herself.
I went downstairs, asked her about the letter, which was “sent” yesterday, and she walked me to the concierge. She found both my letter and my neighbour’s sitting on the desk, and gave it to me, telling me it contained alternative strategies for keeping the smoke from entering my condo, as long as my landlord was supportive of them. I thanked her and went to read my letter.
Basically, it tells me how I can find and seal any gaps in my unit. Later, it states they can only send out letters to my neighbours asking them to be courteous when partaking in their daily activities. Still later, it says, “Should this persist, you may have no alternative but to approach your neighbour(s); not in a confrontational tone, but one of doing you a favor; explain how the smoke is affecting you. Hopefully, you can both work something out together without making this a bigger deal than it has to be.”
What I’m struggling to understand, is why the burden is on me to remove the illegal smoke that is unwelcome in my condo unit. It would be one thing for it to be tobacco — I could understand the need to jump through hoops because it is their private property and all. However, I would have thought there would be more options when it involves a technically illegal activity that is negatively affecting another resident (and possibly others who aren’t complaining). Could they at least SPEAK to the neighbour? It should not fall on my shoulders to do so, thereby identifying myself as the complainant and creating an awkward situation for any future encounters.
Believing myself to be in the right here, I will wait a few days, until I am sure the neighbour has received the letter. If I notice it after that point, I will call the front desk and insist they come speak to the person about the activity. If they don’t (and I’ll know, since I’ll hear them arrive at my floor), I will call again to let them know I have no choice but to report it to the police. I know I’ll probably be laughed at, considering the relative importance of the complaint versus all others, but honestly I don’t know what else there is left to do. Toronto Public Health won’t take issue with it because it’s not tobacco, my concierge won’t deal with it because it’s on private property, and management can only communicate in typed letters (apparently). I really don’t want to confront this person myself.
If you, dear reader, has any other idea as to what I can do, please let me know. The issue really.. wait for it.. stinks. 😉