How to Comply with NYC's New Smoking Policy Rule
In August 2017, New York City passed Local Law 147, which requires residential buildings with three or more residential units to create a policy on smoking and to share it with current and future tenants. For years, the city has banned smoking in the common areas of buildings with 10 or more apartments. With the passage of this law, which takes effect Aug. 28, 2018, the city extended this prohibition to include buildings with three or more units.
The City Council passed Local Law 147 to protect New Yorkers from the dangers of secondhand smoke and to help New Yorkers make informed decisions about where to live. The law specifically targets Class A multiple dwelling buildings because smoke commonly travels between apartments. And requiring a smoking policy can help tenants decide whether they want to live in a building based on the building’s policy on smoking. This will help tenants understand their risk of secondhand smoke exposure while at home. And this information may be important for parents with young children and for others, such as older adults, who may spend more time at home. More time spent at home could mean higher exposures to secondhand smoke.
We’ll go over how to comply with Local Law 147’s smoking policy requirement and give you a Model Policy: Adapt DOH’s Sample Smoking Policy for Your Building.
How to Comply
According to Local Law 147, a smoking policy is defined as “a written declaration that states in a clear and conspicuous fashion where smoking is permitted or prohibited on the premises of a Class A multiple dwelling.” The policy must address all indoor and outdoor locations of the building, including common areas, dwelling units, common courtyards, rooftops, balconies, patios, and outdoor areas connected to dwelling units. The policy impacts all residents, tenants, owners, lessees, and sub-lessees, and invitees of tenants–anyone on the property. The law requires that owners of buildings with three or more residential units:
- Create a policy on smoking and share it with current and future tenants;
- Explain where smoking is and is not allowed on the property, including all indoor and outdoor locations. It’s important to note that the Smoke-Free Air Act bans smoking tobacco or non-tobacco products and using e-cigarettes in common indoor areas. Common indoor areas of residential buildings include hallways, stairwells, lobbies, laundry rooms, and other work areas of the building used by tenants or by maintenance and building personnel;
- Provide an annual notification of the policy on smoking to tenants; and
- Provide a notice to all tenants if the policy on smoking changes.
Smoking Policy Disclosure
Buildings are not required to register or file their policies on smoking. However, owners are required to share their smoking policies by:
- Giving it to all tenants individually in writing; or
- Posting it in a visible location in the building, such as a building lobby.
Policies on smoking must also be incorporated into all residential unit leases. In addition, written notification must be provided in the event of a material change to the policy. And copies of all policy documentation, notices, and material changes must be made available to agency inspectors upon request.
Effective Dates and Enforcement
This law goes into effect Aug. 28, 2018. And the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will enforce Local Law 147 by monitoring compliance with the Smoke-Free Air Act.
The Health Department will not enforce building-specific policies. Building owners are required to ensure tenants comply with their policy on smoking. A building owner who does not share a policy on smoking in the required ways is subject to a $100 fine. And if multiple tenants in the same building are not notified about the policy on smoking, it will count as one violation.
The new law provides that a newly adopted smoking policy will not apply to existing tenants with unexpired leases, but will apply to all future tenants and to existing tenants upon lease renewal. If tenants have not received a policy on smoking, or if it’s not posted in a visible location in their building after the effective date of the law, they can call 311 and ask about the disclosure of policy on smoking.
Editor’s Note: The Insider is hosting a one-hour webinar, “How to Deal with Tenants’ Smoking-Related Complaints,” on Thursday, Sept. 13, at 3 p.m. For more information and to register, go to https://www.apartmentlawinsider.com/page/webinar-how-deal-tenants-smoking-related-complaints.
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|Adapt DOH's Sample Smoking Policy for Your Building|