BOSTON (AP) _ Tenants who refused to pay the rent at an apartment where smoke seeps in from a bar downstairs cannot be evicted and the landlord must stop the smoke from getting in, a judge ruled.

Boston Housing Court Judge E. George Daher ruled Tuesday that secondhand smoke was a health threat that interfered with Kristy and Reece Haile's right to ``quiet enjoyment'' of their apartment.

``There's no doubt the secondhand smoke caused both of them substantial problems,'' Daher wrote.

Ms. Haile said she was diagnosed with smoke-induced asthma. ``We'd get up in the middle of the night, and you could see smoke, like we were in a club. It came up through the fireplace and the electrical outlets,'' she said.

The Hailes have withheld three months of their $1,450-a-month rent. The landlord, 50-58 Gainsborough St. Realty Trust, tried to evict them.

Attorneys for the landlord did not return telephone calls Tuesday, but the director of a landlords' association said the ruling was ``lunacy.''

``What if a truck gets a flat outside her window and blows exhaust in her window?'' said Edwin Shanahan. ``Does that give her a legal right to prorate her rent for the time the trailer was there?''