Condo owner sues real estate agent for secondhand smoke
By Teri Karush Rogers |February 9, 2010 - 2:03PM
In a case with implications for those who buy and sell secondhand-smoke-filled apartments in New York, a Boston jury is expected to decide a first-of-its-kind secondhand smoke lawsuit against a Massachusetts real estate broker today.
The buyer—a 32-year-old woman with a history of asthma—ultimately fled the smoky apartment after two years and a $45,000 renovation. She also sued and settled with her downstairs neighbors and her condo board.
Manhattan real estate lawyer Aaron Shmulewitz tells BrickUnderground that New York brokers are vulnerable to similar lawsuits if they lie about the source of secondhand smoke.
“Brokers have an obligation to not misstate material facts,” he says. “If they don’t know the source of the smoke, that’s one thing. If they deliberately say the source of the smoke is the outgoing seller and that’s a lie, they should be held liable.”
The amount of damages are hard to prove though. Shmulewitz says a logical measure might be the difference in value between a smoke-filled apartment and a smoke-free one.
“This whole area is very subjective," he cautions. "One person could be bothered tremendously by smoke, while another person might not be,” he notes.
Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.