We received a question about a neighbour smoking on the balcony from an SA Lot Owner. Josh Smith, Ace Body Corporate Management has provided the following response.
Question: I am unable to have my door open or sit outside due to smoke drift from my neighbour smoking on the balcony. What rights do I have to stop this?
I live in Adelaide in a small group of units. My back door faces my neighbours back door with just an approximately 2m brick wall between us.
My neighbour sits out by her door smoking with the smoke drift coming straight into my doorway. I have not been able to have my back door open for the past couple of years (except when I know she has gone out) & of course, it still seeps in through the closed doorway. I am unable to sit outside or eat outside when I BBQ.
I am not a smoker, I never have been, & find the constant smell offensive. I don’t want to be unfriendly about this situation but I have really had enough.
Are there any rules about my neighbour smoking on the balcony as described. I have lived in my unit almost 20 years with my neighbours here for the last 3 yrs.
Answer: Unfortunately in South Australia there is no legislation banning smoking within units however this can be seen as a nuisance.
Unfortunately, in South Australia, there is no legislation banning smoking within units however this can be seen as a nuisance if the offending party is not taking reasonable steps to mitigate the impact on other occupants.
A fundamental of living in a strata community is ensuring your actions do not unreasonably interfere with other occupants use and enjoyment of their unit or common property.
Please note the following extract from Schedule 3: Articles of Strata Corporation;
2. A person bound by these articles—
(a) must not obstruct the lawful use of the common property by any person; and
(b) must not use the common property in a manner that unreasonably interferes with the
use and enjoyment of the common property by the other members of the strata community,
their customers, clients or visitors; and
(c) must not make, or allow his or her customers, clients or visitors to make, undue noise in
or about any unit or the common property; and
(d) must not interfere, or allow his or her customers, clients or visitors to interfere, with
others in the enjoyment of their rights in relation to units or common property.
I would always recommend the first step be to raise your concerns with your neighbour over a coffee and see if they are able to take any action to reduce the impact on you. If they are not willing to take this step, your strata manager should be able to offer some alternate solutions and possibly impose a fine for breaching the articles.
This post appears in Strata News #128.
This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
If you still have questions about smoke drift and neighbour smoking on balcony or after information particular to strata legislation in SA, visit Strata Smoking OR Strata Information South Australia pages.