How can we stop our tenanted neighbours from smoking in the building? – Scott, VIC

I live in a two storey block of units of 14. The unit below me is owned by Dhhs and the tenant is constantly smoking, her dog is barking and going to the toilet throughout the common area, she yells and bangs at night most nights as well as knocking on all our doors asking for cigarettes. We have all complained to dhhs, written letter the our local mp without any luck. The police are here at least once a week and they just tell us that they feel sorry for us and there is nothing they can do. Our body Corp manager has advised there is nothing she can do. We have lost 4 tenants and cannot fill the units because of her behaviour. We also have 2 owners looking to sell now. What can we do? We don’t feel safe and are choking on the smoke.

– Scott, VIC


As per the rules of owners corporations, it is the owners who must decide if they want to take the owner who is the landlord of that unit to VCAT.  Tenants cannot be taken to VCAT or held in breach of rules.

You may wish to communicate your concerns to the owner/landlord and take their help to ensure their tenants are being cognisant of the problem they’re creating. Landlords can also specify these matters in the tenancy agreement and give their tenants a copy of the building rules once they move in.

You should note that smoking within private property cannot be restricted in an owners corporation – only if they’re smoking on common areas, can owners be held responsible for breaching by-laws.

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