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I live on the first level of an apartment building. There are two levels above me and the building is laid out such that when my car is parked in my space (in front of my garage) it is below the balconies of the other levels. Someone in one of those units smokes on their balcony and their ashes and cigarette butts end up on or around my car. Obviously this is incredibly infuriating.

I have never seen anyone on either balcony, smoking or not. So there are two possible apartments that could be the culprit, as I cannot narrow it down further.

What actions can I take to make the person aware that their discarded cigarettes end up on my car?

To me the options are:

  1. Go to their door and ask if they smoke and just make them aware. I hate that kind of stuff and really want to avoid that. (remember I don't know which apartment is the culprit)

  2. Put a nicely worded note on each door just making them aware of the situation. Seems good, but maybe passive-aggressive/cowardly.

Are there better options I can try?

  • 2
    Isn't there an apartment house manager or caretaker? I would note the offending person's license plate number and notify the manager first. He or she should handle this. – user247327 Nov 13 '17 at 13:07
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because you want to know how to word a note, sign, or talk to the manager (preferred) and not how to converse with them about chucking garbage out that ends up on your car. 3rd party is off topic. – Rob Nov 4 '18 at 23:07
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It's probably better to knock and talk to your neighbors. Notes can often be misinterpreted or taken as more passive aggressive than you'd like. See http://www.passiveaggressivenotes.com

There's also a good chance that the culprit isn't one of your neighbors, but one of their guests, so try not to assume that you're talking to the offending party directly. It may be better to say something like:

Sorry to bother you, but someone's been flicking ash and cigarette butts off the balconies and they're landing on my car. If people are smoking on your balcony, would you mind providing an ashtray?

Asking rather than demanding will probably be received better and has a lower chance of backfiring and causing a feud with your neighbors. Just try to be friendly and avoid a direct accusation.

  • That's just exactly what happened in my situation! I've got a guest for a week in my home while I was away. He was throwing cigarette buts away (he was reprimended after I've learned the fact). A month later I've got an angry call on the domophone. 1 - it was too late to connect the facts. 2 - the person was angry and not polite, so i wasn't my kindest too. 3 - hiding behind domophone struck me as very childish. – charlie_pl Nov 13 '17 at 6:37
  • This. and if it doesnt work go to the next owners meeting with a car cleaning bill asking for money. People understand stuff way faster when their stash is at risk – Caterpillaraoz Nov 24 '17 at 16:03
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I had the same issue with my neighbors and the way I solved it was to buy both upstairs neighbors a (cheap) bottle of wine. I added a note to them that said something like:

Hi, it's Forklift from downstairs. I've noticed a few cigarette butts around my patio and even though I wasn't sure which balcony it was coming from, I figured everyone could use a little wine and when it's empty, the bottle makes a great ash tray! Cheers!

It was over a year before I had another cigarette butt and one even bought me a bottle of wine :)

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