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Smoking and Strata Buildings: What Do You Need to Know Before You Buy an Apartment?

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If you're planning to buy an apartment in a strata building and you're a smoker, then you should check out if your owner's corporation has any rules about smoking. These rules may affect where you can smoke, and if you aren't ready to quit your habit, it may give you headaches and fines that you could do without. What do you need to know?

What Are the Current Owner's Corporation Smoking Restrictions?

While you may think that you can do what you like in your own apartment, this isn't always the case. Some owner's corporations have agreed to ban smoking in their buildings completely, meaning that you can't even smoke in your apartment. Others allow you to smoke in your apartment or on your balcony, if you have one, but ban smoking in common areas. These areas can be in or around the building. It's a good idea, therefore, to check out a strata's smoking regulations before you commit to buy a property in it.

Will You Have Problems With Permissible Smoking?

Even if you can smoke in your apartment, you may find that this isn't always all that easy. Owner's corporations that allow owners to smoke in their own properties may have some restrictions that expect you to control where your smoke goes. So, for example, you may be sanctioned for smoking on your balcony if your smoke drifts into a neighbour's apartment window all the time.

You should also check on the building's ventilation systems. If you're expected not to allow smoke to drift into neighbouring properties, but your strata building has a shared ventilation system that recycles air, it could create issues. Your smoke could end up in someone else's apartment even if you have all your doors and windows shut.

Are There Future Plans to Change Smoking Rules?

Before you buy an apartment, it's also a good idea to find out if your owner's corporation has any non-smoking rule changes in the pipeline. An apartment may have acceptable rules for you at the moment; however, if these rules are in the process of being changed to something less favourable then you won't be happy.

If you aren't sure how the strata building you're interested in views smoking, then ask your real estate agent for advice on how to get the relevant information. This will help you decide if the apartment is the right one to buy or not.