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Boston Couple Evicted for Smoking in Apartment
Jury Agrees with Landlord Who Booted Couple for Smoking at Home

ABC News | June 20, 2005

In one of the first cases of its kind in the nation, a jury has decided a Boston couple should be evicted for smoking in the $2,500-a-month, one-bedroom apartment where they lived and worked.

"We smoked [and] we wanted to make sure we could run a business out of the house," said Erin Carey. "We entered into a contract to lease the property, because it is quite expensive moving to Boston. So you want to make sure you are going to be there long term."

But Carey and her partner, Ted Baar, are being evicted after a year. They have been ordered to vacate their apartment by the end of the month, though they plan to file an appeal.

Neighbors Outraged

Neighbors felt they had no choice but to file a complaint in Boston's housing court because the couple's heavy smoking got so bad.

A woman who lived one floor up said she she smelled like a bar after spending just one hour in her unit and was concerned about the health of her 4-month-old baby.

Carey and Baar claim no one complained for the first four months they were living there and blame the problem on poor ventilation in the building.

However, the landlord's attorney said the building has housed smokers for many years, and this is the first complaint of its kind.

Nuisance or Health Concern?

The couple's attorney suggested the eviction case could set a precedent for other evictions based on nuisances besides smoking.

"This case really isn't being a nuisance," said James R. Rosencranz, who is representing the couple. "You wouldn't blame a tenant if their plumbing system backed up and went into another unit and put waste water into there, for instance."

The couple says they are being treated like second-class citizens because it is easier to blame a structural problem on the renters, than the owners.


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