The Smoking Ban In Condos Movement Lights Up Again
A movement to ban smoking in condos is heating up again. Fort Lauderdale developer, Dennis Eisinger does not allow smoking in the common areas of his buildings nor in the parking garage, balconies or inside the units themselves, according to the Daily Business Review. The movement is spreading South as well… we noticed this week that Biscayne Beach will also be a 100% smoke-free building.
Here is the section of the Biscayne Beach Rules & Regulations that deals with smoking:
Under Mr. Eisinger’s plan, condo developers retain the right to prohibit smoking in the buildings they sell, and existing buildings have an opportunity to decide for themselves to go smoke-free. A 75% condo board agreement would change the building bylaws and deem lighting up a violation. “Smokers are not a protected class,” Mr. Eisinger told the Daily Business Review, referring to the federal Fair Housing Act.
Why This Is An Amazing Idea
To be honest, Biscayne Beach’s choice to prohibit makes a lot of sense. Below all of the units is the restaurant and beach club. I highly doubt the patrons of the restaurant and the beach club members would appreciate being hit with a stray cigarette while they enjoy their fruity drinks by the pool. I certainly wouldn’t.
In addition, every single building manager I have spoken with has complained at one point or another about cigarettes ruining the pool furniture and starting fires on balconies below. In Infinity, there was actually a fire a couple of years back on a balcony when a cigarette butt hit a patio cushion and it burned. I was also hit in the head recently while swimming with my baby in the pool. Thank goodness it was my hair that got singed and not the baby’s. Scary.
Smoking inside the apartments causes its own form of damage. Smoke smell is not a selling feature. I’ve routinely seen tenants and buyers alike dismiss a property because of the smell. Speaking also from the standpoint of a landlord’s representative, the smell is nearly impossible to get out. The apartments always have to be repainted, the air conditioner units deep cleaned and sometimes the flooring and window shades even need to be changed. This cost quickly adds up and exceeds the security deposit that landlords hold. Not a great investment.
Aside from the inconvenience to others, affect on market values and danger of burns, I think the CDC has appropriately made their point and convinced everyone that smoking is hazardous to your health and to the health of those around you.
But Are The Buildings Overstepping Their Power?
Despite the reasons why buildings SHOULD go smoke-free, can the condo association really dictate what people do inside of the properties that they own? Or is that an example of association over-control?
Also, how could it really be enforced? Would there be a cigarette-gestapo to make sure that people follow the rules? I would love to find out who threw that cigarette off the balcony and hit me in the head, but I recognize that I will never know.
What are your thoughts? Should more buildings adopt similar rules, or is Mr. Eisinger’s plan a pie in the sky? Here is a link to his full interview with the Daily Business Review, including a video.