Local Law 147/2017 requires all condos and coops to create a written policy stating where smoking is permitted or prohibited, including common outdoor areas such as courtyards, rooftops, balconies and patios. The legislation also mandates that the policy be provided to all shareholders/subtenants and unit owners/tenants no later than August 28, 2018 by either distributing it or having it publicly displayed in the building.

This regulation does not prohibit smoking within apartments, nor does it require that any specific bans be included in a building’s policy. It merely requires the board to adopt a policy and to disclose that policy (and any future revisions to the policy) to all residents and potential residents.

Click here for a memo on this subject from our General Counsel Ben Kirschenbaum, which includes the law’s requirements, a sample smoking policy, and penalties for failure to comply.

Each board should review the law with the building’s attorney, who can advise if there is an obligation to amend the bylaws or simply adopt the smoking policy as a house rule.

An Opportunity to Consider Additional Limitations

The passage of this law provides an opportunity for your board to consider adopting additional smoking limitations that are consistent with the desires of your owners or shareholders.

While still rare and often difficult to implement, smoking bans in condos and coops have been achieved. If your board is considering such an endeavor, look to The Beaumont for inspiration. This 165 unit condo successfully changed its bylaws last spring to become a completely smoke-free environment.

Reflecting on the magnitude of the change, Board President Steve Yesenosky said, “The fact that we were able to secure more than 73% approval from our owners, we owe in no small part to the active role our Property Manager Brooke Rosenthal played in reaching out to non-responsive owners and providing the clarification sometimes needed that resulted in a ‘yes’ vote. The combination of board activism through special newsletters, personal appeals, multiple emails, and a lobby greeting campaign, when combined with Brooke’s clarification efforts and calls, sealed the deal.”

Your board should consult with building counsel before starting the process.

Click here for Best Practices for Implementing a No Smoking Policy.

Thursday February 08, 2018