In Australia, most residential unit blocks, old or new have banned smoking in common areas such as hallways, common living spaces, outdoor communal areas and more. In some states, Strata Schemes have completely banned smoking in all areas of apartments by introducing smoke free by-laws.
In recent times second hand smoke has become a major health concern in residential strata units blocks with organisations such as the Cancer Council getting behind the move.
With this fight against smoke drift and new precedents being set by both Court and Tribunal rulings, owners and Owners Corporations need to carefully consider what kind of smoking by-laws (if any) will be implemented in their strata blocks.
There are three options which are:
An Unrestricted Smoking By-law - Many older strata blocks may not have a smoking restriction by-law and be unaware they are leaving themselves in a vulnerable position. They should, therefore, consider reviewing their by-laws to keep up with the latest health concerns and legalities.
Limited Smoking By-law - A ‘middle ground’ by-law may limit lot owners and tenants to only smoking within their units but not in common areas. However, there have been a number of cases where fines of up to $11,000 have been issued due to second hand smoke creating health issues.
Complete Smoking Ban By-law - Only some states currently allow a complete smoking ban which is not currently the Legislative position in NSW. A complete ban includes all areas of the building, including individual units, balconies and common areas. This is a matter which is under consideration in the current review of the NSW Legislation which is expected to be gazette in the latter part of 2022.