7 Replies Latest reply: Feb 26, 2018 11:46 AM by calicalling RSS

    Smoke coming in from neighboring unit

    chris.sleepbranson Contributor

      One of our condos in Branson occasionally gets a strong smoke odor in thr dining room/kitchen area. Its a top-floor unit, so it has to be coming from the neighbor downstairs. It‘s intermittent and can vary from faint to strong (my guess is they use it as a vacation home and so it only occurs when they are staying).


      I’ll review HOA rules for potential avenues of stopping it at the source, but in the meantime, I thought I’d check here to see if anyone has had any success with any methods of reducing or eliminating smoke odor from neighboring units.


      I know some people elsewhere have suggested a good HEPA filter unit (of course, the recommended ones are hundreds of dollars), and landlords have said they’ve been able to kill odors with an ozone generator but that no one can be in the property while it runs.


      I have places I can hide a small, silent unit close to where the odor is most focused, but I’d rather not run a big, noisy filtration fan unit constantly (can’t imagine guests would like that), and running the ozone generators that can kill people is obviously not an option for ongoing operation. Any other solutions? I remember the small air purifiers that were popular in the ‘90s—they were silent and generated a much smaller amount of ozone—would one of those work?


      I can investigate a better barrier between the units, but that might get expensive. There‘s no shared ventilation between the units, and it’s a solid floor (steel construction and I believe concrete underneath), but maybe it’s coming up through cracks or conduits in the walls or something. The intermittent nature of the problem makes it even harder to diagnose.


      As always, all ears for advice.


      (Typed on my iPhone, and the Community site’s editor here annoyingly appears to disable autocorrect, so apologies for any typos above.)

        • Re: Smoke coming in from neighboring unit
          calicalling Active Contributor

          In my state, HOAs can make themselves completely smoke-free-- and there is apparently some legal precedent that HOAs should do that to protect residents from the now-well-documented effects of environmental smoke. Luckily, I have a very small HOA (3 owners and I'm 50% stakeholder) so we passed a building and grounds-wide no smoking/no vaping/no 420 policy. This came about when 420 was legalized and guests were getting an unfortunate second hand buzz.


          I wish I had a more practical solution for you. Depending on the size/structure of your HOA, passing new rules could take a while.

          • Re: Smoke coming in from neighboring unit
            scowol Active Contributor

            The best solution is going to be to identify the source of the smoke intrusion and eliminate it entirely.  If there's no cooking going on in your unit and the doors and windows are closed, yet you smell a "strong smoke odor", something's wrong.  Everything else is just masking and covering up a problem.


            Get a pro out to do an inspection.  There is modern equipment to detect air gaps and leaks. It can even be something as little as an outlet that is not insulated, and is allowing the exchange of airflow between your unit and others.   A pro can figure it out.

            • Re: Smoke coming in from neighboring unit
              feibus Senior Contributor

              Generally, the HOA is there for issues between units.  What I'd do is first figure out which unit by knocking on doors.  You'll know almost as soon as the door is opened whether the unit is the one you're looking for and what the smell really is.  Once you have that, you can go to the HOA and request they take action to remediate any cross-home ventilation that might be going on.  If that doesn't work, you might have to talk with an attorney to see what your rights are and how you can enforce them.