New Citywide Smoking Policy for Residential Buildings to Go Into Effect This August What the Law Means for Condos and Co-ops


Starting August 28, 2018, all residential buildings with three or more units in New York City will be required to adopt a written smoking policy. This applies to rentals, co-ops, and condos.

The new ordinance, called Local Law 147, does not require buildings to ban smoking outright. On the contrary, it simply requires them to enact a policy in writing with regards to on-premises smoking rules.  

Keep in mind, however, that smoking in the common areas of residential buildings such as lobbies, gardens, hallways, and elevators is already prohibited. For all intents and purposes, this new ordinance requires that landlords, co-op corporations, and condominium associations take a definitive stance on whether or not they will continue to permit smoking in individual units, and must then codify that policy into their operating documents.

The Law Explained

David Berkey, a partner at Gallet Dreyer & Berkey, a law firm based in Manhattan, says: “The law now requires cooperatives and condominiums to formally adopt a smoking policy and to publish it so that all of the shareholders, their sublets, all unit owners, and their tenants become aware of what the smoking policy is. They either have to distribute it to each resident or post it in a conspicuous place. Any time there’s a change in the policy, they have to distribute or post it again. If there is a lease that’s being used in connection with the occupancy, the policy must be described clearly in the lease.”

The same goes for sales contracts on co-op and condo units as well. “What’s new here,” Berkey adds, “is the obligation to have a policy and to publish it, so that everyone is aware of it.”


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  • The discussions about this law both prior to and after its passage fail to consider the health effects of secondhand cigarette smoke, which can easily drift from one apartment to another. In 2006 the U.S. Surgeon General issued a report "The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Secondhand Smoke", concluding that "The scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke." see: and: Again: "The scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke." In light of this fact, the federal government has banned smoking in all public housing apartments due to health concerns. And clearly this should have been the ONLY consideration in developing the NYC law. Instead the subject of health risks was never even mentioned at the city council hearing where the vote was taken. So the city is saying that in co-ops, unless 70% of the shares vote to ban smoking in apartments it's okay for apartment-dwellers to inhale cigarette smoke seeping in from other apartments. This is craven and irresponsible. Furthermore, allowing renters to be exempt from an anti-smoking policy in essence accepts secondhand smoke drifting into apartments near the smokers. The city did not leave it up to co-op shareholders to decide whether their building must ban lead paint, must address mold conditions, must require smoke and CO2 detectors and window guards when children are present. The city enacted laws to protect residents from dangerous conditions. So why is secondhand cigarette smoke being treated differently? Finally, the suggestion to provide smokers a year to stop smoking or relocate when a ban is place on smoking in apartments, this is clearly in the interests of the smokers but not their neighbors, who will continue to inhale the fumes for another year, to the detriment of their health.
  • There is no need to ban smoking in a building - any potential second hand smoke issues can be solved with an air purifier and of insulating gaskets and caulk. No reason that smoke should effect another unit.
  • Hello there, Whoever owns an air purifier knows that they don't work, specially when people are smoking right in front on the main entrance and you live on the second floor. I own 3 air purifiers. I live in a coop. What is the best approach to take care of the problem when I know that the super and most of the people on his crew smokes?