Skip to main content

Tenant causing nuisance to neighbors

Escondido, CA |

I am a property manage who just took over management of a single family dwelling . The tenants have an existing lease and did not want to meet me at the property to sign the new lease . I have not visited the property . The owner recently received a per - complaint letter from a neighbor who alleged that the tenants have continually smoked around the perimeter of the rental home and caused the neighbors to not be able to enjoy the outdoors . The claim is for quiet enjoyment of property and possible small claims action . This should be cause for notice to quit , right ? I want to accompany a home inspector to the home to determine any type of damage or deferred maintenance to the property and issue a notice to quit . What is your experience with an issue like this ? Remedy ?

One of the tenants is severely disabled from a motorcycle accident, and apparently uses marijuana. The other tenant, I guess also smokes, but I am not sure if it is marijuana or regular cigarettes. The tenants are also growing marijuana plants in the backyard? Suggestions?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 2


First, I am not sure if there is an anti-smoking ordinance in your city. You might want to check that out. Generally, a person is legally allowed to smoke in their backyard - cigarettes at least. Unless there is an ordinance that prohibits smoking (which many cities now have) then the neighbors should not be able to win a nuisance lawsuit for that.
Next, the landlord is legally allowed to inspect the premises. Just give advance notice and try to set up an appointment with the tenant. In cases of emergency, the notice requirement can be ignored.
If the property is being damaged by the tenant, that could be grounds for terminating the lease.
If you go to the link below, you will find an informative guide that explains the rights of tenants and landlords. As a property manager, you should know those things, so I recommend you print out a copy and become very familiar with it.


I agree with Mr. Spirtos, and I do not believe the Escondido Municipal Code prohibits smoking outside non-public buildings. Most people find cigarette smoke annoying, but absent a strong factual showing of unique disturbance---i.e., your tenant is blowing smoke right into the neighbor's window---then I don't necessarily see grounds for a nuisance cause of action. I recommend contacting the neighbor to see what exactly the problem is, and working with them and your tenants to reach a reasonable compromise.

Ryan T. Darby practices landlord-tenant law and civil litigation. This response is intended for informational purposes only and not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Please reference the Avvo terms of use at

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer