Second Hand Smoke is a First Class Problem

December 2017

Second-hand smoke is a growing concern for condominium corporations.

The State Supreme Court has ordered a New York City co-op to refund $120,000 in maintenance fees plus interest and legal fees.  City law is that co-op boards and rental landlords must make non-smoker apartments smoke-free.  At some point this law is expected to be extended to condominiums.

The board failed to do anything about remediation of a second-hand smoke situation dating back to before 2011.

Toronto condo residents have similar protections against second-hand smoke.

Making a suite smoke-free may be virtually impossible.  Modern buildings include HVAC systems and pipes that result in gaps where smoke can infiltrate.

One solution is to place the obligation for retaining smoke in a suite on the suite owner.  They may choose to discontinue smoking in their suite or employ methods to keep smoke from exiting the suite.

Legalization of marijuana use, if this occurs, could worsen smoking problems in condominiums.

Condo boards may choose to enact a rule with wording similar to “Any resident permitting smoke of any type to leave the unit and enter a common area or unit infringes on the rights of other residents and is prohibited.  Consequences of failure to comply may result in the corporation implementing remediation efforts and costs being paid by the tenant or owner of the offending unit.”