Knock-Knock, Neighbour!


5 minute read

January 26, 2011

When I was five years old, I used to go and pick “fresh flowers” out of the well-maintained gardens of everybody who lived on Parkhurst Boulevard.  I was unaware that this was in any way impolite, and thus we did not get along with our neighbours very well…

Perhaps in a cruel twist of fate, this is why I’ve been saddled with a neighbour who is trying to break the world record for most marijuana ever smoked under one roof.

As a condominium owner, what our our options here?  Especially if my neighbour is a tenant


I’ve smoked pot.

Who hasn’t?

Seriously – I often wonder what is the percentage of Canadians over the age of eighteen who have never smoked pot?

Perhaps there are those who are shocked and amazed that I’m divulging this sensitive information on my real estate blog, but I’m really not fazed by the topic of recreational marijuana use.

What else was there to do when we were in university?  I hit the gym about fifteen hours per week and I’m sure at some point I probably studied, but I wasn’t a huge drinker and thus I certainly enjoyed…..relaxing

I don’t think I’ve smoked pot in about five years now, and I can honestly say that I’ll likely never do it again.  It’s just not for me anymore.

But the saying “To each, their own” certainly applies here, and I have no issue with people that want to smoke pot once in a while, or every single day.

Don’t forget – the Liberals were about to decriminalize recreational marijuana use a few years back, but that all went out the window when the Canadian George Bush, aka, Stephen Harper, came into power and started building prisons faster than he could recite Bible passages…

I don’t really care what people do with marijuana in the privacy of their own homes, and I think to some extent, they should be free to do whatever they want.

This brings me to the recent issues I’ve been having with my next-door neighbour and her love of the cannabis consumption culture.

During the summer, I’ve grown accustomed to opening my back doors in the morning, wandering outside to water my plants, and smelling nothing but skunk weed.  That’s okay; we’re outside.

Over the last few years, I’ve grown to loathe that smell and I’m often physically repulsed by the scent of marijuana.  But you know what?  My neighbour is outside, on her back patio, and I think she’s essentially free to consume as much pot as she wants.  And believe-you-me, she does exactly that!

Is it 9:00AM already?  Time to smoke up!

Is it 9:25AM?  Well good lord – it’s been 25 minutes!  Pack a fresh bowl!

Somewhere in the world, it’s 4:20 – and that means WEEEEED!

All day, all night, every day of the week, for the last four years.

I have no idea how one person can smoke so much weed and still function as a “normal” human being in society.

I’ve done some research and apparently there is no such job as “Professional Marijuana Smoker.”  There is no “MLC” or “Marijuana League of Canada,” and this is not a sport nor an occupation.

Regardless, I’m usually not home until 8:30PM at night and I’m really not bothered by the constant torch-lighting ceremonies that go on next door.

However, this winter, things changed.

A few months ago, I got off the elevator on my floor and like a Mike Tyson right-hand to the face, I was immediately hit with the overpowering stench of northern lights.

It was as if the carpets in the hallways were made of weed, and my shoes were on fire.  With each step I took, the scent only got stronger.

This continued every single day for a few weeks until I finally asked my other neighbour, “What the hell is going on here on our floor?”

My other neighbour said, “I think you’re little friend next door has started hot-boxing her condo.”

Ah-ha!  That makes sense.

She used to smoke outside, and thus the smell was negligible.

But since she works from home and smokes pot every minute of every day, she’s taken to smoking inside her condo!

I know you’re probably picturing an old Cheech & Chong movie where the window of the car rolls down and the smoke pours out – but it wasn’t like that.  It’s not like when her front door opened, we were instantly reminded of Kurt Russell in Backdraft.

But it was enough to make me dread stepping off the elevator each night when I got home.

I’m usually starving when I get home most nights, and I’ve taken to eating dinner at 8:30PM in the last couple years.  So the last thing I want is to get off the elevator and feel physically nauseous when I catch a giant whiff of the baba-cush.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels this way.

The rumour mill was churning, and neighbours were starting to complain to property management.

So one night in December, I stepped off the elevator and once again got smacked upside the head with an amazing aroma, only this time it was the unmistakable smell of bleach.  It seemed that the best solution to our pot problem was to ensure that the entire floor smelled like cleaning products every night.

This didn’t go over well either.

Once again, I didn’t feel like eating when I got home…

So low-and-behold, the final solution presented itself!  And this is amazing, I must say.

Somebody, somewhere, I’m not sure who, had the idea to seal around the edges of my neighbour’s doorway with a thick black rubber substance, thereby keeping every last particle of pot inside the comfy confines of her home.

It looks absolutely ridiculous.  But you know what?  It works.

I haven’t smelled even the faintest scent of pot in the last two months, and personally I don’t care how stupid it looks to have only one door on the whole floor look like somebody drew around it with thick magic marker.

Compromise?  I guess.

So now the greater question presents itself: Why hasn’t she been evicted?

Well, this is an option for the condo board.  If enough neighbours complain and if enough residents send notices to the property manager and the board, then the issue will have to be addressed.

When I served on a condo board at a neighbouring building, we had a hand in evicting more than a few tenants.  When some loser 20-somethings are throwing beer bottles off their 8th storey balcony, it’s a pretty simple decision to make!  Just tell the owner to get his or her tenants out as soon as possible, and never look back.

So what are the steps needed to force a condominium owner to remove their tenant?

How long could this drag out for if somebody wanted to be difficult?

There’s no quick answer to this question.  But I personally believe that if you are a condo owner and the board of directors came to you and recommended that you remove your tenant, then it would be in your best interest to do so.

What is “permitted” in any condo could be a significant grey area.

You can smoke cigarettes in your condo as if it were a 1980’s New York banker-bar, but is it still “illegal” to smoke marijuana?  Technically, yes.

Is it illegal to slaughter farm animals in your condo and paint the walls with blood?  Oh, absolutely!

So what is grounds for eviction and what isn’t?  This is a tremendous grey area, and this is why a difficult tenant could choose to take his or her case in front of the Rental Tribunal and drag it out for months and potentially years.

As for me, I’m okay.

As long as I don’t have to smell wacky-tabbacky every night when I get off the elevator, I won’t complain.

Although with spring just around the corner, and with my precious Petunias only months away from being planted, I’m wondering just how much outdoor potpourri I’ll need to drown out the smell.

Well, at least my new I-Pod dock and outdoor speakers will eliminate the “Cough, Cough, Cough” that I’ve been hearing for the last four years.  I can’t imagine what those lungs look like…

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

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  1. Mila

    at 11:09 am

    I can’t believe you are willing to put up with the smell even if its in your balcony… Its your space, and if somebody is so selfish to have no respect for that – why should you have respect for them? I would complain.

  2. Cliff

    at 12:05 pm

    Weatherstripping does come in handy.

    I’d still rather deal with a pothead neighbor than a DJ or pornstar neighbor. Hearing orgasms and head boards banging against the wall was a regular occurrence for me not too long ago. LOL

  3. Ryan

    at 1:39 pm

    I am so high right now

  4. Daniel

    at 1:42 pm

    I’ve been looking for a pot-partner in crime for a while now. If this girl is hot and smokes a ton of weed, then I’m ready to meet her. Please publish her name, number, address, and a photo on this fully open online forum. Thanks very much.

  5. Bob

    at 1:52 pm

    I hear ya! I once had a house-mate who smoked pots every two hour or so. At the beginning she went out to the garden to do her thing, but when winter came, she decided to take it indoor inside her walk-in closet, which had a very small window facing the street. Oh boy, she smoked and smoked and smoked away… I was upstairs from her, working at home. The smell gave me headaches, and after a while, I went crazy. The smell disgusted me so much. All the while, she was trying to be sweet to me and other house-mates, but the girl was really unbalanced, and a skillful emotional abuser. By the end, it was a total nightmare, and I just packed and left on a New Year Eve. That was years ago, and I’ve never looked back! It still gives me a cringe now thinking of it.

  6. xxx

    at 4:59 pm

    wow you get racier every day. talking about smoking pot on your blog? what’s next? do you have limits???

  7. Geoff

    at 5:15 pm

    You know I don’t get this posting, David. You basically say that smoking pot is ok, people can basically do what they want, sneak in a shot at Harper, and then post complaining that your neighbour smokes pot and implying you’re not looking forward to smelling it outside over the summer.

    Usually NIMBYism is only a metaphor.

  8. Justin

    at 5:24 am

    A vapourizer is the marijuana smoking renter’s best friend 😉

    I know what it’s like to deal with offensive odours and sympathize with you. I sit beside a woman at work who smokes all the time and wears the same unwashed sweater every day. The stale smoke stench that oozes off of her is so bad, it leaves my clothes smelling like smoke at the end of the day. I feel nauseous and my stomach hurts 9 hours a day, 5 days a week.

    PS: About sealing the outside of her door: I’m not sure how your condo is ventilated, but most buildings utilize positive pressure in the hallways with undercut doors allowing make-up air to be supplied to units from the building ventilation system via the hallway. Sealing around her door could cause her dryer, kitchen hood, and bathroom extractor to not work, her not to receive her fair share of heated air in the winter from the common HVAC system, and reduce the air change rate to below safe levels in her unit.

  9. David

    at 3:55 pm

    You might want to get your neighbour a vapourizer. It’ll be good her health and for your odor problem.

  10. Mary J.

    at 6:15 am

    Mmmmm, Marijuana… BRB…

  11. CondoMadness

    at 2:22 pm

    The condo’s board can deal with this quickly by sending the unit’s owner a letter and if that does not get a response, the condo corporation’s lawyer will get involved.

    This can get very expensive for the owner, very quickly.

    It is all up to the board if they will act. If they don’t then the owners may be able to sue the condo corporation for “oppression” and not being able to enjoy the use of their units and common elements.

  12. Gerry

    at 5:03 am

    Your attitude smells. You smell. Somebody should erase you.

  13. Olmstead

    at 2:55 am

    Basically what would happen is: a pharmaceutical company would get a patent for medical marijuana for 17 years. They would control the price, availability, and then we have the insurance companies that would refuse to pay for this benefit. This is typical of every drug that is developed by a pharmaceutical company pending approval by the FDA.

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