Despite the fact that you have repeatedly told your tenants not to smoke in your building, you still have one or two that ignore your requests. You have to protect the rest of your tenants from secondhand smoke, but how? The smoke goes into the ventilation system and cannot be stopped from circulating. When eviction is not an option, you can use smoke control testing to your advantage to monitor the flow of cigarette smoke in your building and find a working solution.
Smoke Control Testing
Hire a smoke control inspector. These professionals can perform smoke control testing to find out how the smoke flows to other apartments, and even who the culprits might be. You cannot evict tenants without proof of lease violation, and you have not seen anyone smoking in the building. The inspector can connect test machines to all of the ductwork, and test for smoke. Each set of ducts tested narrows down the apartments in the building based on which apartments are are affected and which apartments are creating excess smoke.
Alter and Separate Duct Work in Compliance with Building Codes
After you find out where the smoke is coming from, you can alter and separate the duct work so that the cigarette smoke only circulates through the smoker's apartment. (In some apartment buildings, you cannot find the culprit because the cigarette smoke travels through the vents to other apartments connected to the same duct work.) As long as the new duct work is in compliance with city building codes, you can move ahead with this project.
Test the New Duct Work
You can hire the same inspector to return and conduct another smoke test. With separated ductwork, you will automatically get a "hit" on which apartment has a smoker in it. Then you have the proof you need to serve notice, and then evict the tenants who are breaking the rules in their leases. In the meantime, all the other tenants can breathe more freely because the new duct work blocks the cigarette smoke from entering the vents in their apartments.
Clean the Ducts to Remove Smoke Residue
After the smoking tenants have been evicted, be sure to have all of the ducts professionally cleaned. This removes a lot of the smoker's residue that remains behind and causes health problems. It also provides cleaner, healthier air for all your tenants and increases furnace efficiency. You can repeat the above steps anytime there are more complaints about smelling cigarette smoke in the building or on the property.