More owners corporations might begin to pass by-laws that restrict smoking on balconies and all common property, according to the head of a strata title management company.
Patrik Bruhlmann, the chief executive of Australia’s first listed strata title management company Vesture Limited, said the newly elected Melbourne City councillor Richard Foster is pushing for smoking reform.
“People smoking on balconies is one of the major sources of complaints within apartment complexes and I expect that more and more committees will take steps to prohibit smoking on balconies,’’ said Mr Bruhlmann.
“You can’t stop people from smoking in their own homes but committees get a lot of complaints from owners about cigarette smoke blowing into their apartments from the neighbouring balcony.
“Strata schemes can now introduce by-laws that restrict smoking on balconies to help prevent cigarette smoke blowing into a neighbouring unit.”
Mr Bruhlmann said the New South Wales state government might amend its strata title laws to make smokers responsible for capturing their own cigarette smoke while Queensland accepts that in some cases cigarette smoke can be characterised as an “unreasonable interference” to the use and enjoyment of another lot owner or occupier.
Simone Balsara, the by-laws and rules expert at TEYS Lawyers, added that “a complete prohibition of smoking on lots can be open to challenge.
“A good smoking by-law defines the ‘reasonable’ or ‘necessary’ steps to be taken to prevent smoke odour from entering other lots and the common property where the smoke would drift onto another lot or the common property.”
According to Mr Bruhlmann, councillor Foster is pushing for a smoking ban in all public places because the move would benefit the 80 per cent of Australians who don't smoke.
He said his proposed ban would extend to all areas of Melbourne that were not privately owned property and would include alfresco dining areas and public land outside office blocks.