Smoking Bans in HOAs

No SmokingAcross the country, more and more HOAs are instituting strict smoking bans. Some bans restrict smoking only to designated areas, while others have gone so far as to completely ban smoking anywhere on association grounds. Many are applauding the stricter standards as a step that improves the quality of life for residents.

The dangers of second-hand smoke have long been established, and more and more non-smokers are speaking out against having to be exposed to harmful substances because of their neighbors’ behaviors. Indoor smoking is an especially serious issue for multi-room complexes, like condos, where smoke passes through walls and air vents, and light fixtures into other residents’ homes. As smoking becomes less and less socially popular, some cities and communities have even targeted all smoking within their perimeters.

Adopting Smoking Bans

For communities that are not already classified as entirely smoke-free zones, smoking can be restricted to certain areas by adopting new bylaws or amending governing documents. In most states, this type of measure requires a simple majority or even two-thirds majority vote of members to pass. In many cases, smokers who already live in the community or complex would need to be grandfathered in and granted exemption from smoking rules that pass after they have already moved in.

In communities where smoking bans are not adopted, fail to pass, or have residents who are exempted from the rules, bothersome smoke can still be dealt with under nuisance rules. While it has to be established that the smoke qualifies as a nuisance, the threat of action being taken against them can be used to discourage smokers or move them to take steps to be more courteous of their neighbors.

Smoking Bans In Your HOA

If full smoking bans are not possible or acceptable to your community, setting rules for where smoking is allowed is another option. This can be done either by adopting formal rules to set up designated smoking areas, or by agreement between neighbors on how smokers will limit their smoking to certain areas or certain times, in order not to bother other people in the HOA.

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