Over the last several years some complaints have come to building management about smoke from one apartment affecting the residents of a neighboring apartment.
On occasion the Board has received petitions from shareholders asking that we consider submitting the question of making the building smoke free to a vote of the shareholders.
At a recent meeting the Board decided to communicate on this topic to residents in order to make clear the policies and guidelines that the Board has set for building management.
The Board prefers to have as few rules as possible that might infringe on a resident’s ability to enjoy his or her apartment. We have applied this principle numerous times in the past and we find it to be an excellent guide in policymaking.
When we do feel the need to develop new rules for the building, as with our establishment of the Permission to Enter Form system a few years ago, we try to do things in a way that is minimally intrusive, easiest to enforce, and most likely to achieve the Board’s intent in correcting problems in the building.
In the case of smoking the Board continues to be unwilling to encourage any restriction on the freedom of residents to enjoy the use of their unit as they see fit.
We are compelled to act, however, in situations in which a neighbor suffers a nuisance from smoke that passes from one resident’s apartment to another. This has happened by transmission through common walls and even by airflow across the hallway.
When management receives a complaint of that form, the building is compelled by law to address the nuisance. In recent years we have learned about air filters, caulking, and numerous other techniques that are recommended to help with such situations.
Our experience, in the few such situations that have arisen in recent years, has been uniformly positive. Invariably, residents who smoke have cooperated actively with management on implementing and paying for measures to eliminate the negative impact on their neighbors. This has sometimes involved extensive experimentation, occasionally expensive, but in general has ultimately resulted in a satisfactory outcome for all involved.
Management and the Board remain alert to this issue and are prepared to act appropriately when confronted with new situations.