In the case known as Owners’ corporation versus May and Ors 2016, residents of an Ashfield apartment, in Sydney’s inner west, enjoy smoke-free living after their body corporate passed a 100% smoke-free by-law for the complex.
Fed up with repeated exposure to second-hand smoke from a neighbouring unit and continually removing tobacco-related litter, the residents approached the chairman of the owners’ corporation.
The chairman and the block’s strata manager developed a 100% smoke-free by-law, which was then presented to owners at a special general meeting. It was a success, with more than 75% of the attendees supporting the new rule.
All residents were notified of the new smoke-free by-law, and from that point on, every new tenant was informed of the by-law before signing their lease. Signage was also posted at strategic points on the property to inform visitors, residents and tradespeople that the complex was a smoke-free property.
Shortly after the by-law was adopted, a tenant whose cigarette smoke drifted out of their apartment moved out.
It is definitely a healthier place to live without any unsightly cigarette butts on the ground or foul second-hand smoke wafting throughout the building and common area.
— Chairman of owners’ corporation
Another smoker tenant initially refused to comply with the requirement of the by-law and continued to smoke on the unit balcony.
They were warned that if they continued, they would be issued with a ‘Notice to Comply with a By-Law’ and fined $550. In response, the tenant agreed to smoke on the footpath at the front of the building.
The chairman said the owners’ corporation received nothing but praise from all the building residents, new tenants and owners in the building, and the managing agents of the units.
“It is definitely a healthier place to live without any unsightly cigarette butts on the ground or foul second-hand smoke wafting throughout the building and common area,” he said.
“I believe we have increased the rental/resale value of each unit in the building. After all, approximately 83% of the population do not smoke and would preferably live in an apartment block that is free of cigarette smoke as a result of how close we all live to our neighbours, and a non-smoking tenant would definitely want to rent out a unit that has not had a smoker in it previously.”