Re: Smoking Policies
From: Mabel Liang (
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2011 13:09:35 -0800 (PST)
I'll write more about our own smoking policy in a later message.  I
remember reading an article in the Boston Globe about condominium projects
that _did_ pass a regulation that no smoking was allowed anywhere,
including in units.  I believe the change was made in the by-laws.

The concern was that smoke can and does escape from units to common areas
and other units.

So, at least in Massachusetts, it is possible to do.  I _thought_ I had
heard that Cambridge Cohousing had passed such a rule.

I searched and found a couple of articles.  The first one (an abstract is
available for free) says, among other things

"If the original condo documents contain language barring smoking in
individual units, Marcus says there is no question the courts would uphold
the rule. It would take a vote of the unit owners to amend the by-laws or
master deed, but given that requisite majority, again, Marcus thinks the
courts would accept a no-smoking rule, despite the obvious concern about
infringing on the rights of property owners to control the space they

So if you put the policy into your original condo docs, I think you're on
firm ground.  Presumably you'll consult a lawyer before finalizing those

-- Mabel :-)

Mabel Liang
mabel [at]
Software Engineer turned Gardener
Cornerstone Village Cohousing
Cambridge, MA

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Smoking Policies
From:    "bonnie Fergusson" <fergyb2 [at]>
Date:    Mon, November 21, 2011 12:56 pm
To:      "Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at]>

>       At Swans Market Cohousing we have a policy of no smoking allowed in
> any of our common areas which includes the common house, the walkway
> that all our front doors face, the garage and the garden ( several
> peoples balconies and windows face the garden).  None of our owners
> smoke but everyone occasionally has relatives or guests who come to
> stay for varying periods of time who smoke and they have to exit the
> community entirely to get to an external courtyard where they can
> smoke.  We currently have a student from Saudi Arabia staying with
> us who smokes and we joke about his need to "take a short walk"
> which is code for go smoke a cigarette.  We also had to train him
> not to just drop his cigarette butts on the ground out there.
>         I don't think it's legally possible to forbid smoking in peoples
> own homes but it's both possible and desirable to prohibit smoking
> in all the common areas where second hand smoke could affect the
> health of others who have not chosen to take on that health risk.
> The down side of this policy is it somewhat limits the pool of
> potential people who will buy into your community, but as smoking
> becomes increasingly unpopular and uncommon this becomes less and
> less of a meaningful issue.
>                          Bonnie Fergusson
>                         Swans Market Cohousing
>                         Oakland, CA
> Sent from my iPad
> On Nov 21, 2011, at 5:58 AM, "Sheila Hoffman" <sheila [at] 
> wrote:
>> Great discussion about Values/Mission/Aims. As a young forming group
>> (less
>> than 2 years old) we've done a few facilitated workshops including
>> setting
>> our Vision & Values:
>> We're in
>> the
>> process of setting up some policies. Since we're still small (about 5 of
>> 10
>> households) and none of us smoke we're considering making a NO Smoking
>> Policy. I searched the archives and found mostly very old posts and they
>> all
>> seemed to allow some smoking. I'm wondering if anyone has a complete No
>> Smoking Policy. Examples would be appreciated. I've drafted this one,
>> greatly revised, based on the one I found from Mosaic Gardens posted in
>> Feb
>> '09.
>> In keeping with our stated value for Healthy Individuals, CHUC intends
>> to be
>> a non-smoking environment. With this in mind, smoking is not allowed in
>> any
>> indoor or outdoor common areas, such as the Common House, rooftop
>> gardens,
>> or atrium under any circumstances. All residents may smoke or permit
>> smoking
>> inside their private unit and on private balconies, but are expected to
>> cooperatively respond to neighbors' concerns should they arise.
>> Thank you for your thoughts.
>> Sheila in Seattle
>> _________________________________________________________________
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