Smoke Free Condos: How We Restricted Smoking Inside Condominium Association Units and Declared Secondhand Smoke a Nuisance
Smoke Free Condos is the first comprehensive guide for condominium owners, condo boards, homeowners associations, nonprofits and government health agencies promoting smoke-free policies in condomiums and multifamily homes. Dr. Joyce Starr addresses recent case and state law on secondhand smoke in condominiums, including the Law of Nuisance, Quiet Enjoyment of Property and key amendment procedures. More
Smoke Free Condos is the first comprehensive guide for condominium owners, condo boards, homeowners associations, nonprofit organizations and government agencies promoting smoke-free policies in condominiums and multifamily homes. Dr. Joyce Starr addresses recent case and state law on secondhand smoke in condominiums, including the Law of Nuisance, Quiet Enjoyment of Property and key amendment procedures. The author fought a four year battle against second hand smoke in her condominium association. She was elected to her condo board in 2012 and thereafter as treasurer, where she led the effort to amend the Governing Declaration to restrict smoking inside units and to define secondhand smoke as a nuisance. A single misstep could have derailed the entire process. The challenges and hurdles faced - and overcome - are vividly presented. "Naysayers warned that we would fail in the best of times, let alone during a difficult economy. Opponents stated with certainty that we would be sued and lose. They raised the specter of staggering legal costs that would sink the condominium association. Defending their castles, they compared the smell of secondhand smoke to garlic and bacon."
Smoke free condo advocates typically confront fierce opposition, including personal threats. For the author, backing down was not an option. Smoke-free amendments do not "magically" pass. Her back story can help others succeed. Smoke Free Condos provides a critical path to smoke free multifamily housing.
"I bought this book, read it cover to cover and urge condo owners concerned about second hand smoke to do the same. I’m the President of GASP-Florida (Group Against Smoker’s Pollution) and have worked in this area for decades. This book is truly a breath of fresh air for our members and for all who suffer from second hand smoke in condominiums and homeowners associations. It’s the perfect guide for condo owners who desire a smoke free environment.” – Rita Zemlock
“I previously worked for the American Lung Association under a health initiative designed to provide free assistance and consultation to management companies, condo owners, and condo boards on the benefits of restricting smoking inside the unit. Dr. Joyce Starr wrote this book as a catalogue of how she worked with her condo board and condo owners in changing the governing documents, making secondhand smoke a nuisance and restricting smoking inside the unit. Her work is essentially a guidebook (and may I say the gold standard) on how to successfully make these changes. Her book includes an interesting overview of case law that seems to favor the nonsmoker and points to the conclusion that there are no legally protected rights to smoke. While smoking is certainly not illegal, it also is not a right in the sense that there are laws protecting a person’s right to smoke. It can best considered as a privilege, much like driving, and like driving, it can be suspended or controlled if abused. The book also includes a copy of governing doc language and other tidbits that a board may find useful. It can easily save an association thousands of dollars in attorney fees." - Matthew C.
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