Few months ago, I bought a unit in a new mid-rise condominium and we live on the top floor. When the owner of the units below me moved in after 2 months, I started to smell cigarette smoke in our bathroom when it is not in use as our ventilation switch is connected to our light switch. Me and my husband does not smoke and he also complained about it. I complained it to the building management and they told me that the ventilation pipe is shared with the other 3 floors below me. So it explains why we are getting different smells in our bathroom such as the smell of a viand, which I don't mind. I don't mind the other smells penetrating into our bathroom but what I hate the most is the smell of the cigarette smoke.It is strong and sometimes it reaches our kitchen and living room. I have allergy rhinitis and the smell of cigarette triggers this and oftentimes, I have an asthma attack due to the allergy rhinitis. I've also seen my doctor about this. I've complained this again to our bldg management and they already talked to the unit owners below me but they don't seem to listen as we still smell the cigarettes.

What should I do to stop these smell from coming in? Is there a way to reverse the flow back to their units and prevent it from coming to ours when we don't use our ventilation/bathroom? Please help me please.

  • Having your unit on the top floor may be an advantage. Does your bathroom sit against and outside wall?
    – Michael Karas
    Oct 25 '19 at 12:26

That is a tough situation and I think the only real solution is to have separate ventilation pipes. Is there a clause in your agreement that addresses the issue. I would do some legal research before bringing it up again with building management.


My brother had the exact same problem. Luckily the building had all the wires in conduit. I was able to install a duplex switch in the single gang switch box, run two additional wires in the existing conduit from the switch box to the light/fan fixture and rewire it so the light and fan had their own switch. He now runs the fan when the downstairs people are home and it keeps the smoke smell out of his unit. You could also hook the fan circuit up to a switch timer but you'd probably need a two gang switch box.

Check with your building association before doing any changes. This is a minor change so it shouldn't be a problem. Good luck

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