New York City - Should condos and co-ops be able to ban smoking inside owners' apartments?

March 17, 2011 - New York has been taking an increasingly tough stance toward smoking, but virtually all residential buildings have drawn the line at telling people they can't smoke in their own apartments. That may be changing. At least half a dozen Manhattan co-ops are expected to ask shareholders during annual meetings this spring to vote on an all-out smoking ban that would prohibit residents from lighting up in their own homes, real estate attorneys say.

New York City already prohibits smoking in public areas at any building with at least 10 apartments. Attorneys say a number of recent developments have encouraged some buildings to pursue a total prohibition. These include growing concerns over secondhand smoke, the city's recent decision to slap smoking restrictions on parks and other public areas, and fears that residents will sue each other—or the building—over smoking disputes.

"At every single board meeting we get complaints about smoke and people asking us when will the board do something," says Steven Michaelson, president of an Upper East Side condominium that is holding a vote soon on banning all smoking.

Reference: Smoking Bans Hitting Home by CRAIG KARMIN (,, 3/16/2011./

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