Where There's (Pot) Smoke There's Fire

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neighbor drug dealer adviceDear Apartment Guru,

I am a building manager who is running into some issues with a few of my tenants. It would seem that a few of them are smoking marijuana. Then there is my one tenant who calls me regularly to tell on them.

The tattletale is a new tenant. Everyone else has lived there for a while. They are all good tenants in every other way and I feel lucky to have them. But I know that what they are doing is illegal. So what should I do? I don't want to get any of them in trouble with the cops. It doesn't feel right to knock on their doors and ask them to be more discrete in their smoking habits. So what do I do?

To be honest, I wish I'd never rented to the tattle-tale at all!

-- Middleman




Dear Middleman,

Bet you never thought being a manager was going to feel so much like parenting! But much like siblings sharing a household, it looks like people with differing lifestyles now inhabit your building. And it is one of your jobs to help them come together as peaceably as possible.

Just because you might not be personally opposed to recreational marijuana use, it is an invasive habit (smoke can get through all kinds of cracks, crevices and open windows) that others may not be quite so comfortable with. Furthermore, my friend, it's illegal.

As Sgt. Scott Harvey, a public information officer in Kentucky puts it, "Maybe all of us need a 'tattletale' to make us check our scruples every now and then."

Sgt. Harvey is absolutely right. Even though your resident tattler is annoying, it doesn't make him or her wrong.

The wise sergeant suggests sending out a blanket notice to all residents informing them that something that smells a lot like a Rastafarian picnic (the Guru's words, not the officer's) has been encroaching on other people's personal space. Remind them that there are children, elderly people and sufferers of breathing problems living in and around the building. This way no one is accused directly, and you, the building manager, have made a documented attempt to remedy the situation.

"Silence is sometimes seen as permission," says Sgt. Harvey, "and if the police can prove that the landlord gave permission for the marijuana to be smoked in the complex, there are a whole host of legal issues they could be facing."

You need not force any of your tenants out of your building or have them arrested to make the point that their illegal behavior has been noticed. But it is up to them to make sure that they keep the smoke to themselves and stop sharing it with their Nosey Nelly of a neighbor, who next time may skip the middleman, Middleman, and go directly to the police.

Best of luck.

Have a question for the Apartment Guru? Email her at: apartmentguruquestions@gmail.com.

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