Can an owner take legal action against smoke drift? – Bruce, NSW

If an owner is allowing smoke drift, can another owner take legal action against smoke drift or is it required that an action be instituted by the owners corporation?

– Bruce, NSW

The fact is, every owner has a right to enjoy their property in their own way.

So, it is important to find out where they are when they’re smoking. If they’re smoking inside the confines of their own property, they cannot be restricted as such. If they’re smoking on common property you may take the help of your strata committee to put up signs and notices restricting smoking in common areas or to designate other areas of common property where smoking may be permitted.

Your committee can mediate on your behalf and request the owners who smoke to be more mindful of their neighbour’s right to peaceful enjoyment of their property as well. Sometimes it helps to have an unbiased but knowledgeable third party (in this case, your committee) mediate disputes and communicate building rules more effectively.

Ideally, your strata by-laws would outline what action can be taken against smoke drift issues, so make sure to go through the by-laws first. If your by-laws do not address these issues, you may wish to have these matters included in the by-laws by filing a motion in an annual general meeting (AGM).

Your by-laws can be changed if no more than 25% of votes cast are against your request. You may find more information on balcony smoking via this link