Neighbour troubled by cigarette smoke – smoker court evicted

POSTED: 06/29/14 4:59 PM

Chain-smoker

When do neighbors become so annoying that a court decides to throw them out of their house? In St. Maarten we live with plenty of noise pollution. People have got so used to the noise and the fact that hardly ever anything is done about it that they have virtually stopped filing complaints.

Just the other day we drove over Illidge Road, where a sound wall assaulted us. The noise came from a tiny room, with a huge boom box in the doorway. Though we could not make out what was said – apparently in Spanish – it quickly became clear that this was some sort of preacher. The man sounded hysterical, a bit like a Brazilian soccer commentator on steroids, so we assume that his message was one of hell and damnation.

The noise this self-proclaimed messenger of God vomited all over the neighborhood was nauseating. Is there then nobody who takes offense? We came close to thinking that there is a reason why somebody invented the hunting rifle.

All this to say that some people, religious or not, really have no concept of what they are doing, or how what they are doing is destroying the peaceful atmosphere in a neighborhood.

There are however also other ways to irritate one’s neighbors. A fine example comes from Düsseldorf in Germany, where a court ruled yesterday that Friedhelm Adolfs, a 75-year old chain-smoker has to leave his rental apartment where he has lived for the past forty years. The court granted the apartment’s owner the right to evict Adolfs because he troubles his neighbors with ….. cigarette smoke.

Earlier this year a lower court arrived at the same conclusion, but Adolfs appealed the ruling. Now that he has lost again, the smoker has one option left – a trip to the federal court. It is unclear whether Adolfs will take his plight that far.

Formally smoking in a home is permitted in Germany, but smoker Adolfs causes massive nuisance. The court ruled that his cigarette smoke seriously hinders his neighbors. The cause of the nuisance is the building’s inadequate ventilation system, so Adolfs may have a point when he blames his landlord for the situation. The court found however that the pensioner, who must love the smell of his smokes, refuses to air his apartment on a regular basis or to empty his ash trays in a timely manner.

The beleaguered smoker has until the end of the year to find another roof over his head.

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