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Thursday, December 09, 2021











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Subject: Mystery Pot Smell
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Author Messages
KyleG3
(Georgia)

Posts:3


07/13/2021 3:05 PM  
I'm a relatively new board member to a 74 unit condo high rise in Georgia. It is illegal to use pot here in GA. We have had an issue with one floor of our building consistently experiencing the pungent stench of marijuana on a regular basis. It was causing a ruckus on our communities social media page, and people were consistently trying to track down the perpetrator to have some sort of cessation enforced. The HOA President lived on the same floor, and he and most of the other owners had all sort of come to the same conclusion that it was one particular unit.

The best evidence that I have seen presented by my peers on the board was the fact that every single unit, 13 of 14, except for the unit in question had reportedly submitted complaints to our community association. This unit is lived in by a tenant, and the owner has had fines levied against him for nauseous odors, and on the very same night I joined the board, they voted for the tenant to be evicted. I abstained from the vote knowing essentially nothing about the situation other than rumor mill. The fines were assessed, the eviction put in place, and the smells/situation was apparently alleviated to a drastic degree. The tenant had been given an eviction date of the end of June, but the owner was under the mistaken impression that GA landlords are required to give 60 days notice to tenants (not the case with a lease in place with GA law). So--the owner told her she could leave at the end of July. There were apparently 4 days of instances in early July where the smell was back. As an automatic reflex, the HOA president levied fines and began discussion of the fact that the eviction was not followed through with--and that we should put an additional fine in place on a daily basis until the owner complies.

Apparently, on the 7th day of July, one of the days which the pot smoking allegation was made against this owner's tenant, there had been a rallying chorus of complaints on social media about the pot stench. The owner alleges to have gone to the property, verified there was no smell, and even brought one other guy over (who had spoken of the smell on social media) to verify that the smell wasn't coming out of his unit. Now, he is feeling that the "best efforts" of the board are verifiably ineffective and unreliable, as he feels he has proven that this occasion and thus all occasions could not have been his tenant.

Now--I am new to this. 3 of the other board members seem to feel some strong conviction that the violating unit is in fact the tenant of this owner, and the owner is contesting this. It does seem exceptionally difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the smell is or is not coming from a unit without opening the door and verifying the situation. So, the owner is wanting us to vacate the eviction and remove his fines. Has anyone else ever dealt with the hard to pinpoint issue of nauseous odor? I still don't feel like I have enough facts to be able to render a decision, when the rest of the board seems to have their convictions in line. Does anyone have any thoughts or recommendations they care to share? Deeply appreciated. At the end of the day, the pot smell has caused two other tenants to move. I want to preserve the community, but I also don't want to railroad the rights of one owner when we cannot categorically and undeniably prove that his tenant is the culprit.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10595


07/13/2021 3:35 PM  
I would like to know how your HOA has the right to evict a tenant. That is the owner's responsibility. Plus what kind of fines are you levying against them? Are you allowed to fine? Is there a fining schedule?

Bad smells does that cover just illegal substances or does it define to other smells? I had a neighbor that was from India. They cooked with curry. The smell was nauseating and wreaked throughout the complex. Matter of fact the new tenant had to call the fire department when they moved in. Apparently they had lit so many candles they thought had carbon monoxide poisoning.

So need more actual rules and proof of allowable enforcement. I am not a fan of the smell of pot but if it's inside a home, then not much can do about it.

Former HOA President
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8734


07/13/2021 4:59 PM  
Stenches inside the home that move into the common areas are against the covenants in my condo HOA. It's spelled out near our nuisance clause that so many HOAs have.

But I can see how proof in a corridor of so many units would be difficult. But it seems to me that your Board does not have to take the word of the unit owner. The latter should have visited accompanied by a board member or HOA staffer if you have any.

Does your HOA, Kyle, have rules against smoking in units?? Still, if your CC&Rs have restrictions against noxious odors in the common areas, and your HOA has a fining schedule, maybe try this:

The next time a bunch of neighbors small this stink, every one of them should open their doors so others (board members? management, if any?) can eliminate certain if not all units. Knock on the alleged violator's door and she will refuse to open it. If not all doors were open, next time try again until you have corroborated proof that no one else could have caused the stench.

I also think neighbors can put notes under her door asking her to stop. Social pressure might get to her.

My desk is next to my open bdrm. window that is 10' from my own balcony and above & next to 16 identical balconies. Sunday evening that skunk smell came in my window- twice. The second time I yelled out my window, "Please keep your weed stink out of my unit!!" Next day those of in this "stack" got an eblast from our PM that there were complaints and whoever is smoking on their balcony must stop as it's against our rules. We'll see what happens.

Meantime, my spouse & I cook a lot of curries and love the fragrance! No one my hallway has complained.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1469


07/13/2021 5:18 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 07/13/2021 3:35 PM
I would like to know how your HOA has the right to evict a tenant. That is the owner's responsibility. Plus what kind of fines are you levying against them? Are you allowed to fine? Is there a fining schedule?

Bad smells does that cover just illegal substances or does it define to other smells? I had a neighbor that was from India. They cooked with curry. The smell was nauseating and wreaked throughout the complex. Matter of fact the new tenant had to call the fire department when they moved in. Apparently they had lit so many candles they thought had carbon monoxide poisoning.

So need more actual rules and proof of allowable enforcement. I am not a fan of the smell of pot but if it's inside a home, then not much can do about it.





Here in Nevada an HOA can foreclose on a property only IF the owner was fined for threatening the safety and welfare of the community and said fine is unpaid after 90 days.
GA, especially in a condo may have a similar law.
KyleG3
(Georgia)

Posts:3


07/14/2021 7:11 PM  
Looks like the owner has backed off of all threats for legal recourse and interest in waiving the fees we had levied against him for the noxious odors emmanating from his unit.

The previous board had done something similar to what you described, opening doors and having people verify that it was not their unit. They got it narrowed down to two, and that other unit owner has been the main victim of the OWNER'S attempts to shift blame. "Well xyz is a KNOWN pot smoker. It couldn't have been MY tenant."

Ironically, there were notes left on the door, but it is an African American woman and an African American owner in a predominately white building. Every email (from the beginning) was charged with language alleging that he was being targeted, and she was being targeted, and that this entire thing was a result of racism.

Anyways--it was an interesting enough thought experiment. I just didn't want to be a party to a vote to punish this guy when we didn't have categorical and conclusive fact, and my peers on the board were not detailing (at the time) the investigatory methods they implemented. It was a lot of "we are pretty sure it is this owner. VERY CONFIDENT."

I got most of it in the end. I think they were probably correct, but who knows now.

I didn't realize when we purchased this condo a year ago that we were buying into a very persnickety and fickle family. I feel like I was so naïve only twelve months ago.
KyleG3
(Georgia)

Posts:3


07/14/2021 7:15 PM  
I responded to one of the other posts, but the whole issue is essentially resolved now (the owner backed off of everything--and is ensuring his tenant is gone). I'm not sure what instigated the radical change, but I'm assuming.. I, I don't know.

We apparently started levying fines for the tenants violation of the noxious odor/nuisance odor thing, as the smell was permeating the hallway and the other owner's homes. After the fines were levied, the violations continued, and we apparently voted to have her evicted based on violation of the community rules. Or something. I am still trying to familiarize myself more with the relevant GA laws, our community bylaws, etc. Taking on this role was about 100x more than I thought it would be, but I still think I made the right decision... to be a part of the solution.
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