Can you smoke on common property?
The answer to this frequently asked question is whether the subject area is an enclosed public space or is an area in which food is prepared or consumed. The definition of an enclosed public place is found in the Smoke Free Environment Act 2000 which requires most enclosed public spaces to be smoke free. An enclosed public space is a place that is open to the public, has a ceiling or roof and apart from doorways, is substantially enclosed. Generally the main entrance and stairwell of a building would be considered an enclosed public space and must be smoke free. The gardens and surrounding area to a building would be considered open space and therefore not subject to the Act. Individual unit owners or occupiers are also exempt from the provisions of the Act by virtue of their unit being private property.
The issue of smoking is an emotional subject for many people and some goodwill and common sense should be used in addressing the problem. Smokers should ensure that they take their cigarette butts with them when they have finished smoking in the open areas of a strata plan building as this avoids any complaints being levelled against them for depositing rubbish on common property, which would be a breach of the by-laws. Another tip to smokers would be to do so away from the open windows and doors or other residents.
New Strata Regulations to be released mid 2016 regarding this matter. Watch this space for more info.