Questions & Answers:


15 July 21

Ballincastle Property Services Portfolio Image: Smoking. What can I do about neighbours smoking? Can I smoke on my balcony? How do I stop smoke drift?

What can I do about neighbours smoking?

Smoking is forbidden in enclosed places of work under the Public Health (Tobacco) Acts 2002-2015. The smoking ban also applies to common areas within buildings. This means, for example, that corridors, lobby areas and reception areas of buildings such as apartment blocks and hotels are also covered.

Can I smoke on my balcony?

The universal practice is that the Management Company owns the balcony and you get a licence to use it. Some people get upset about this. They feel that they should own their balcony. But if you can use it what difference does it make? Also, if anything should happen to it structurally then everybody must contribute.

The reason why the Management Company owns it is because it wants to be able to ensure that the appearance of the block is consistent from the outside. So, the Management Company will always look after the maintenance of the balcony, which in most cases means the painting. There are also strict rules about how you can use a balcony. In almost every lease it provides that you cannot hang out or dry clothes on a balcony. This is because it runs down the general external appearance of the apartment block. You cannot beat mats or rugs on a balcony obviously because the dust will spread and could go on to other balconies. Sometimes it provides that you cannot barbeque or smoke cigarettes on a balcony or even keep a bicycle on a balcony. That depends upon the lease and the house rules.

For advice and information on fire safety in your apartment or apartment block or complex, you should contact the building control section of your local authority for details of what was agreed for the building at design and fire safety certificate stage. In general, developers will employ a Fire Safety Consultant, Architect or Engineer who is familiar with the Building Regulations and the procedure for applying for a Fire Safety Certificate.

Local authorities in their function as building control authorities are responsible for assessing and issuing (or refusing) fire safety certificates applications for developments such as apartment blocks in their functional area.

A certificate is granted, with/without condition(s), where the local authority is satisfied that the proposed layout and construction of a building, from a fire safety point of view, will comply with the Building Regulations.

How do I stop smoke drift?

Check your lease for your apartment or house rules to see if smoking is addressed or even allowed. Talk with your neighbours about your exposure to secondhand smoke. Talk with your landlord/property manager about the secondhand smoke problem in your apartment. Ask other neighbours who are being affected by secondhand smoke to attend the meeting with you or send letters too.

If your building does not have an internal apartment smoke free policy, ask them about adopting one. Ask them to conduct a tenant survey to gauge the views of residents about a policy prohibiting smoking in all indoor areas. Generally, most residents will be supportive of a voluntary smoke free housing policy.

Under the Fire Services Acts 1981 & 2003, Dublin Fire Brigade can pursue enforcement of fire safety matters, including the management of fire safety. The Building Owners Management Company should be prepared to facilitate any request by the local authority to inspect common areas or individual units.