What are my rights when cigarette smoke drifts into our apartment or excludes us from enjoying our balcony? – Linda, QLD
Cigarette smoke drift is a common complaint in body corporate properties, due to the close proximity of living arrangements. The actions of owners and tenants can impact the quality of life of others around them.
While looking for solutions on the matter, you should keep a few things in mind:
Firstly, it’s important to determine where the cigarette smoke drift is coming from – if they’re doing so within their own property, it’s hard to restrict them as every owner has the right to enjoy their property as they please. If they are smoking on common property, you may seek the assistance of your body corporate 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 body corporate can also 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.
Ideally, your by-laws would outline rules around smoking while on common property, so make sure to go through the by-laws first. If your neighbours are unaware of the by-laws, you can help them get familiar with them or take the help of your committee to make the by-laws clearer and accessible to all owners and residents.
If these issues are not covered in your by-laws, you may wish to have them included by filing a motion in an annual general meeting (AGM) to amend your by-laws through special resolution.
Here is an article on the importance of adhering to by-laws that may interest you.