What can I do about my neighbour’s cigarette smoke coming into my apartment? – Carolyn, NSW

While cigarette smoke is a nuisance for non-smokers, 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 strata 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 strata 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 and formalised if there’s a special resolution passed to amend them.

For more information on cigarette smoking, click here. Additional information on smoke drift by-laws is available here.