Smoking on Balconies - A Dilemma for Condo Owners

Real Estate Agent with Windermere Real Estate - Palm Springs CalBRE# 01339266

California doesn't like smokers.

The state was the first to ban smoking on trains, planes, buses, public buildings, workplaces, restaurants and bars. Last year, California prohibited smoking in a car when a child is present and now California is reconsidering banning smoking on state beaches and in state parks.

With that thought, I move on to the subject of this post .....

The condo building I live in features large balconies off most of the units. The CC&R's (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) allow for barbecues provided certain safety requirements are met. However the CC&R's and R&R's (Rules & Regulations) specifically state that "Smoking is not permitted in any common area. This includes elevators, hallways, lobbies, garages, driveways and recreational areas. Smoking is however permitted on balconies and patios, with due consideration being given by the smoker to his/her neighbors".

Certain residents who are big smokers spend long periods of time of their balconies and the smoke drifts into their neighbors' units causing irritation and unwelcome smells. Despite requests for consideration of their neighbors these residents continue to smoke unabated.

The Board is now proposing a complete ban on smoking in all common areas including balconies and patios since these are Common Areas as defined by the CC&R's.

I know the next Board Meeting will have a very vocal "Owners Forum" during which time this topic will be discussed. I understand that owners are entitled to enjoy the privacy of their homes, but at what point is it reasonable to dictate what they can and cannot do in their own condos?

I am not a smoker and don't enjoy second-hand smoke either .... but I'm trying to rationalize this in my mind.


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Comments 74 New Comment

Richard and Jean Murphy
(207) 712-4796
Harborview Properties

I am in favor of people being free to do what they choose, but smoke travels and is a known harmful element. I say off the decks and patios.

Remember the "cone of silence" from Get Smart? These should be used for smokers who insist on permeating the air of others.

January 23, 2012 08:14 AM
Freda Channell
What about grilling on the balcony? It may be legal but the smell of cooking flesh is worse than anything else. How can people oppose one type of smoke over others. If you outlaw smoking outside then common sense tells us that ALL smoking should be outlawed including grilling.
August 29, 2012 07:46 PM
Ginger Harper
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent!
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage

WE have not gotten to this point in NC yet.  But I feel it is coming.

April 04, 2013 11:51 AM
David Pylyp
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc.,

This is a passionate and timely topic;  Our condo building in Toronto Canada has astroturf on the (above grade terrace on the 5th floor BBQ area) Podium section between two towers.


The cigarette butts burning the astroturf are a) fire hazzard b ) will need to be replaced causing additional expense for owners.


How can we regulate this?   They do have the right to smoke in their suites, and some are tenants where the Condo has no method of enforcement.


David Pylyp


November 26, 2013 10:08 AM
Eric Boucher
The FHA Condo Approval Guy
ReadySetLoan Condo Team LLC

This is a complex topic because it is infringing on the unit owner's right of "quiet enjoyment" on both sides, the smoker's and the nonsmoker's.  One can argue that by buying into a condominium project, the unit owner has to understand and accept that neighbors are in close proximity and if they don't like that, they shouldn't buy a unit.

January 18, 2014 09:22 AM

Palm Springs Realtor Stewart Penn

Windermere Real Estate - Associate Broker
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