The occupants of the apartment immediately below mine sometimes smoke in their balcony and the smoke gets into my apartment. I like to keep my balcony door open for fresh air. How can I get them to stop? – Johannes, NSW

If they’re smoking on their own balcony or within the premises of their own property, there’s not much the strata committee or owners corporation can do to stop them since everyone has a right to enjoy their time inside their property in their own way.

However, if your neighbours are breaching any property by-laws that specifically prohibit smoking or doing so on common property where others around them can be affected, the strata committee can intervene to sort the matter. They can put up notices, signs and warnings in common areas and also discuss the issue with your neighbours on your behalf.

So the best thing to do is check your building by-laws and discuss your concern with your strata manager. If there’s a smoking by-law, you can refer to that. If there’s a by-law for peaceful enjoyment of your property in the absence of a smoking by-law, you could count on that to further your case.