M.H. from Fairfield County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Our condo association was incorporated 2005. We never thought to ban smoking back then. Now we want to alter declarations / bylaws to ban smoking to future owners and tolerate present smokers. We’re told we need 100% compliance to do this. We’re looking for guidance. Thank you for any advice. or suggestions
Mister Condo replies:
M.H., yes, the tides have certainly turned on smoking in general. As you can imagine, smokers are not likely going to agree to a non-smoking policy in their well-established homes. I am not sure what you mean by 100% compliance as a requirement but I think you mean 100% agreement to modify your Declaration and/or By-Laws. Without seeing your governance documents, I am not certain what requirements you have in place for document modification. I am also not sure why you would need to tolerate present smokers. If the buildings go smoke-free, that means no occupants can smoke. Contrary to popular belief, there is no “right to smoke” as so many smokers claim. In fact, second-hand smoke is very dangerous and, in High Density Housing (HDH) such as condos, it is commonly banned. The State of Connecticut’s Department of Public Housing (DPH) has an excellent resource page for you and your Board to review: https://portal.ct.gov/DPH/Health-Education-Management–Surveillance/Tobacco/Smokefree-housing-for-Condos. If you have questions about your procedures necessary to implement a smoking ban at your condo association, I would strongly recommend that you work with your association’s attorney. As you can imagine, placing a smoking ban won’t go over well with your smoking residents. However, with determination and perseverance, I have no doubt you can “clear the air” over smoking at your association. Good luck!