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Smoking Prohibited

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Several states (including Florida) have banned smoking in most public places. The gradual move toward smoke-free condos, and the extent of a board’s authority in this arena, is the source of much debate within the state. The Florida Clean Indoor Air Act, found at Chapter 386 of the Florida Statutes, provides a uniform statewide code to keep public places and public areas reasonably free from tobacco smoke. The Statute specifically regulates indoor “common areas,” including indoor common elements of a condominium. The law does not apply to outdoor common areas (such as the pool area at your condominium, unless certain enclosure criteria are met).

A Board’s rule-making authority is derived from the governing documents. Most condominium association governing documents grant the Board rule-making authority regarding the common elements. Assuming your Board has this authority, and adopted a rule prohibiting smoking in the common elements, the new rule will be found enforceable so long as it is “reasonable” and was adopted properly.

While no Florida appellate court has as yet directly tackled this issue, a rule banning smoking at condominium swimming pools should be found to be reasonable. Why? Likely because the ill health effects of secondhand smoke are well established. Further, many non-smokers are offended by secondhand smoke in their vicinity, even in an outdoor setting.

Although there are always exceptions, the Board is under no obligation to “grandfather” any owners or residents who smoked in the “smoking area” prior to it being designated a no-smoking area.

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