How to Stop Secondhand Condo Smoke?

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C.O. from Windham County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Hi! We have a nuisance policy concerning odors coming from other units. There are some smokers who live on the first floor of my condo building. Their smoke fumes/gasses enter into the upstairs condos. I have read that there is a 50/50 chance the courts will back the non-smoker and require the smoker to NOT smoke in their unit, as they have no legal protected right. Our Master deed states that the Board may adopt Rules and regulations when necessary for health and other reasons. Can the Board places a rule in the “Rules and regulations” stating that “If an owner has an issue with the second-hand smoke coming from the unit and entering the non-smokers unit that the Board will send that smoking owner a certified letter stating that smoking in their unit will not be allowed due to Owner health concerns.”?

Mister Condo replies:

C.O., the issue of secondhand smoke has come up at condominiums all over the country. In some states, smoking bans have worked in the favor of the non-smokers seeking relief. In Connecticut, the law may be on your side although there are specific steps you and your Board can take to ban smoking the right way. The CT Department of Public Health has published an excellent guide to help you along. Point your browser to their website at http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?A=3137&Q=486714 and follow their simple steps. Of course, owners that are smokers are likely to oppose the action so don’t expect a simple passage of the new rule. There will be debate, likely heated, about what can be done in the privacy of one’s own home. However, with perseverance, I believe you can create a smoke-free environment for all residents. Good luck!

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