A new law will take effect in August 2018 involving Local Law 147, which outlines policies about smoking in a residential building in New York City. The law applies regardless of the ownership structure and requires that all multi-unit buildings implement a formal policy regarding smoking. This law does not seek to dictate whether or not buildings should or should not allow for smoking, rather requiring that the adopted policy be stated in all leases. It does not apply to rent-regulated or publically subsidized buildings. The board of directors in cooperatives and management boards of condominiums will need to decide on a policy so all residents see it in writing.
The law requires that locations, where smoking is permitted or prohibited, be specified. This may include the exterior areas of the property including rooftops, courtyards, balconies etc. The smoking policy will be incorporated into all agreements that relate to renting or leasing residential units. Properties that fail to adopt and disclose the smoking policy in a timely manner are subject to a $100 fine. Initially, copies of the policy are to be distributed to all occupants or make a centralized public posting. The distributed or posted policies must be done verbatim, rather than be completed in summary form.
The policy will apply to all tenants, as well as their invitees. In addition to being added to rental or lease agreements, the policy should be stated in the bylaws or rules that exist for cooperatives and condominiums. The policy should also be disclosed annually in the same way as the initial disclosure. Changes are permitted to the policy with proper notification. The smoking policy is not binding to a tenant amid the term of their current lease or rental agreement unless otherwise specified. Boards of directors, management groups and owners are encouraged to seek assistance from an experienced local real estate attorney to address this concern as part of a comprehensive plan to be fully compliant, reduce potential liabilities and review all existing contractual agreements.
The Smoke-Free Air Act of 2002 added some restrictions relating to smoking as follows:
- Smoking is prohibited in common indoor areas in buildings with over 10 units
- These common areas will have “no smoking” signs posted
- Smoking is prohibited in child care centers and medical facilities
The city has begun a community initiative to promote the benefits of smoke-free housing. A 100% smoke-free building is that where all smoking of tobacco products is prohibited, although many properties have also had success with restricting smoking to a defined outdoor area.
The city is promoting a host of benefits including:
- Less damage to property
- A reduced risk of fire, with the potential for reduced insurance rates
- Cleaner air throughout the hallways, lobbies, and staircases
- Availability of many available resources for those looking to quit smoking
There are many residential buildings that have adopted the 100% smoke-free policy. A 2014 city survey among residents revealed that 70% of voters favored a smoke-free housing policy.