The deadline for compliance with NYC’s new “Smoking Policy Law” is August 28. As part of Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to curb smoking and tobacco use, Local Law 147 requires that all multi-unit residential properties must create and distribute a smoking policy. Designated smoking areas must not be in conflict with existing City regulations, which prohibit smoking in enclosed areas of public places. That includes the common areas of your building, from the lobby to the hallways, stairwells and elevators. Your policy can designate an outdoor smoking area, such as a rooftop, as long as the City allows it. According to the City, disclosing a building’s smoking policy will help tenants and purchasers make an informed decision about whether or not they want to live in a building.
When creating a smoking policy, the building needs to address where smoking is prohibited as well as where it is allowed. In order to ban smoking entirely, or prohibit smoking inside apartments, a vote by a supermajority of unit owners or shareholders is required and the bylaws or proprietary lease must be amended.
A copy of the policy must be distributed to all building residents and unit owners or posted in a place visible to all who live in the building. Failure to create and distribute the smoking policy by the August 28 deadline can lead to building penalties. Our managers have sample policies that boards can review, which can be modified to meet your building’s needs. Keeping the policy simple and straightforward, while addressing issues such as where smoking is allowed, rules for disposing of butts, and house rules about odors, will help minimize any confusion or pushback from residents.