If you have been there 10 years you probably can move out any time you want simply by giving 30-days written notice to your landlord. You do not need an excuse.
Constructive eviction allows you to break a lease. Do you have a lease? It does not allow you to live in a unit rent free. If you do not pay your rent your landlord will serve you with a 3-day notice to pay or quit and follow it up with a UD.
A UD will make it difficult in the future to obtain adequate housing. If you want to move, start saving money now or obtain a loan to allow you to make the move. That is a far better choice than not paying rent and having a UD on your record.
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Mr. Daymude gives correct pragmatic advice. A 30 days notice is better than abandonning your lease without payment.
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.
In addition to what has been stated, take a look at this link: http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/problems.shtml
THIS RESPONSE IS INTENDED TO CONVEY GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY. IT SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON OR TAKEN AS LEGAL ADVICE. FURTHER, THIS RESPONSE IS NOT INTENDED TO AND DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.
Write the landlord and demand that he resolve the smoking problem under his warranty of habitability.
I am not your attorney. Contact an attorney for advice immediately.
1. First determine whether you are month to month or have a balance of months remaining on your written lease.
2. If the former, give notice and move
3. If the latter, determine whether you can stick out the remaining months- it is going to take awhile to find a suitable apartment.
4. In order to terminate a lease for constructive eviction, the unit has to be uninhabitable and the legal standard for that is verey high and set by statute. You can easily research this on line and compare your situation to the standard.
5. One problem is that the issue is not something the owner is doing or not doing, but something other tenants are doing inside their own apartments and that is very difficult for the owner to control, and may not be grounds for constructive eviction.
6. Can you even tell exactly who is responsible?
7. You should keep a journal of when there is a smell, what you have done to counter it; health issues; MD visits, etc
8. This may be a dicey constructive eviction case.