Smokers can no longer tell owners corporations to butt out of their habit under sweeping changes to NSW strata laws.
While previous strata law did prevent residents from causing a nuisance or hazard, the new Act has been strengthened by specifically noting that smoking can be considered to be a nuisance or hazard.
The strengthened Act now gives your neighbours a big ashtray in which to stub out nuisance and hazardous smoke and even put an end to your outdoor cook up.
The Aussie BBQ comes under fire as smoke drift can be considered as a nuisance or hazard.
Why are new NSW strata laws needed?
The previous Act is 20 years old and the new strata laws, a total of 90 changes, are designed to streamline the entire strata system and have been modernised to suit the way we live, today and beyond.
MYTH: Smoking is banned in apartments and on balconies
Many have misinterpreted the changes to strata laws but smokers should be warned that their habit could land them out of pocket.
Owners corporations can now choose to adopt a by-law for smoke penetration which may ban smoking throughout the whole strata scheme.
Smokers out of pocket
A new by-law would allow an owners corporation (OC) to ban a resident from allowing smoke, from their lot, to drift into another lot or into common property.
If smokers fail to comply with the by-law they could be out of pocket by thousands of dollars. (Penalties have been doubled since the November 30th introduction of new strata laws)
Step 1 – The OC could then enforce the ban by issuing a notice to comply.
Step 2 – If the ‘smoker’ fails to comply with the written warning, the OC can lodge an application with the Tribunal. If a breach is determined, a fine of up to $1,100 could be issued.
Step 3 – If the ‘smoker’ violates the same smoking strata by-law within 12 months of the previous penalty, the Tribunal can issue a fine of up to $2,200 for each offence. (For a second offence, the OC is not required to issue a notice to comply)
Where does the money from fines go?
The new strata laws allow for fines to be payable to the owners corporation, unless the Tribunal orders otherwise. This change will help compensate the OC for the time and expense of a Tribunal application.
Many applaud the new NSW strata laws targeting ‘nuisance smokers’. You may be free to puff away without consequence, face a complete smoking ban or somewhere in between.
Note: The new strata by-laws are effective only in NSW, smoking by-laws have not been introduced Australia-wide. Check the strata laws in your state/territory.
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