Smokers’ Rights and Condo Living

July 2018

Smoking is a matter of personal choice.  It is also a matter of public health.  Exposure to second-hand smoke is documented to pose a danger while smokers have a right to smoke if they choose to do so.  Yet there are laws prohibiting smoking in enclosed public places.

Condo boards and management are expected to be supportive of these two realities.  Condo buildings are a combination of public and private spaces.  Problems arise when smoking in a private space, a condo suite, infiltrates to public , common or other private spaces.

When someone smokes in a condo suite, the smoke and smell can move beyond the private space.  A smoker allowing a noxious substance and odour to affect other condo residents contravenes the Condo Act.

The Condo Act includes the rights of other owners to enjoy their home without being exposed to nuisances that include smoking.

Condo corporations may choose to restrict smoking in condo buildings by establishing a rule.  A stronger message is when a condo corporation declaration is amended to make this restriction more entrenched.  These restrictions can be sufficiently general to apply to electronic cigarettes and legal marijuana use.

A more flexible approach would be to not prohibit smoking so long as it does not impact on other condo residents or common areas.  Those choosing to smoke could do so as long as they have implemented measures necessary to ensure smoke and odour does not migrate from their suite. This may entail some combination of improving the inner seal of the suite, air fresheners or deodorizers, or air pressure systems.

For more information on smoking and other air quality issues see the Condo Archives – Condo Building Management, subheading Air Quality.

For assistance identifying vendors and products that can assist with addressing air quality issues that include smoking Condo Resource Guide can help.  Look under Air Quality.