Dear Urban Diplomat: I told my landlord I was a non-smoker when I moved in, but now I want to light up an occasional joint. Can I?

Dear Urban Diplomat: I told my landlord I was a non-smoker when I moved in, but now I want to light up an occasional joint. Can I?

The other day, I was sharing a joint with a friend on my back deck when my landlord dropped by to do some yard work. He told me I wasn’t allowed to smoke on his property. Is he allowed to ban me from partaking in the occasional toke?
—High and Dry, Riverdale

Your landlord may have caught you in the act, but that alone isn’t enough for him to evict you. To be clear: he can’t force you to quit if it’s just his personal preference. His only recourse would be to try to make the case to the Landlord and Tenant Board that your smoking is damaging his property, but as long as you keep it outside, the complaint would likely be dismissed. Things get a little hazier when it comes to your fellow dwellers, though. Renters are prohibited from engaging in activities that interfere with the “reasonable enjoyment” of other tenants, so if you live alongside fun-suckers and they complain, your fate could end up in the hands of a Judge Judy–style court decision. If it reaches that point, consider switching from toking to tinctures.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
Last week, a group of 20-odd schoolkids got on the Queen car during rush hour. They were all wearing backpacks the size of Smart cars and bumping into other passengers (including me). This is the third time this has happened to me recently, and not one of the accompanying teachers said a thing. Should I speak up next time?
—Too Much Baggage, Roncesvalles

While it is common courtesy to take your backpack off during a hellish commute, I’m siding with the teachers here: you try herding a crew of children through a crowded streetcar without losing one of them, much less a bag. You’re free to speak up if you get bonked, but otherwise just make like a sardine and suck it up. Children or no children, getting smushed is basically a given on public transit.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My mom had the idea to get matching tattoos with me and my two sisters. At first, I was down for it. But they picked a design that’s super corny and now I’m having second thoughts. I had to work when they went to get inked, so I promised to book a separate appointment. I know they’ll be disappointed if I bow out, but I don’t want to be stuck with an ugly tattoo. How do I tell them I changed my mind?
—Monsters Ink, Trinity-Bellwoods

The time to speak up was during the brainstorming session, but that’s not a good enough reason to permanently brand your body with something you hate. If you’re truly desperate, you could get a semi-permanent tattoo somewhere discreet (they fade after two weeks), show them once and never speak of it again. But that’s a bald-faced lie, and I can’t honestly recommend such a cowardly course. You should just explain your tattoo commitment issues and brace for the “I’m not angry, just disappointed” talk. Fortunately, their ill feelings will eventually fade. Tattoo regret, however, is forever.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
The other day, my neighbours put a couple of matching vintage chairs out on the curb. I snagged them for my kitchen, but after a few days, I decided they don’t really match my aesthetic so I put them up on Bunz. Turns out they’re pretty valuable. I ended up trading them for a $500 gift card and have been feeling guilty about it since. Do I owe my neighbours a cut?
—Trash Talk, Cabbagetown

Your neighbours had their chance to capitalize on Toronto’s thirst for vintage wares and decided it wasn’t worth the effort. As far as I’m concerned, you earned that $500. (Besides, if you hadn’t rescued those chairs from the city’s garbage collectors, they’d probably be sitting in a landfill right now.) If your conscience is keeping you up at night, there’s no harm in offering up a few bucks, but don’t feel obligated to share the wealth. After all, one person’s curbside trash is another’s trade-worthy treasure.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My old roommate had a serious alcohol problem. He would punch holes in his bedroom walls during drunken fits and there were a few times when he got aggressive with me. I moved out last month and noticed he recently posted on Facebook that he’s looking for someone new to move in. I don’t think he’s a bad person and I know he needs help with the rent, but I also think prospective roomies deserve to know what they’re getting themselves into. Should I call him out?
—Pour Decisions, Yonge-Eglinton

It’s not your responsibility to get involved (again)—especially if it’s going to catapult you back into a stressful situation. If you’re still in touch, you could bring it up with him privately. Explain how his habits affected you while you were living together and encourage him to be mindful when it comes to making his next roomie feel more at home. What you shouldn’t do is opt for public shaming. Outing him as a drunk is cruel and will sabotage any shot at getting his life back on track.

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