What can I do about my neighbour’s smoke drift? Hakan, VIC

Cigarette smoke drift comes to my balcony from the neighbours exhaust fan. What can I do about it? Hakan, VIC

A neighbour’s smoke drift coming from private property can be hard to rule against, as lot owners are entitled to smoke in the confines of their own property.

At the moment, Victorian laws only allow Owners Corporations to make rules that completely ban smoking in common areas such as shared courtyards.

However, in Victoria the Owners Corporation Regulations 2007, Model Rule 1.1 stipulates ‘A lot owner or occupier must not use the lot, or permit it to be used, so as to cause a hazard to the health, safety and security of an owner, occupier, or user of another lot’.

It sounds as if your neighbour’s smoke drift has exposed you to second hand smoke so the argument could be made that second hand smoke is a health hazard to you and, therefore placing the other owner in breach of this regulation.

We would recommend the following;

a) Seek to negotiate with their smoking neighbour and owners corporation to address
smoke infiltration issues.
b) lodge formal complaints with the owners corporation that neighbours or their
guests are using their apartments in a manner that is causing a hazard to the health
of others; and/or
c) request the owners corporation to create specific rules dealing with smoking within

To read more about smoking rules in other states, read another FAQ here