The issue of smoking in condominium buildings seems to have heated up lately. This may be a result of the legalization of medical marijuana in the state of Illinois or the increasing acceptance of marijuana use in general. Whatever the reason, the issue of smoke nuisances (of any kind) in condominium buildings continues to plague buildings large and small.

Condominium boards struggle with resolving smoke problems between units. It can be difficult to determine the source of the problem without clear documentation. And while the board can regulate how owners behave in common elements, they do not have complete authority to restrict how owners behave within units. This is a bit of a gray area, however, as smoke that originates within a unit very easily travels to common areas and other units, thus affecting neighbors and creating a nuisance that can arguably be forbidden by the association's governing documents.

The board has two options for remedying complaints about smoke. It can put forth an amendment to the Declaration to prohibit smoking in the building, or it can use Rules and Regulations to fine owners whose smoking affects the common elements.

In the case of an amendment, an affirmative vote of 2/3 vote of the owners would be required to prohibit smoking. Your condominium documents may required a higher percentage but the requirement cannot exceed 75% per the IL Condo Act.

If the board chooses to address the problem through Rules and Regulations and apply fines, they must follow the proper procedures for adopting and enforcing those Rules and Regulations.

Absent action by the board, owners have the right to seek legal counsel and attempt to resolve the issue via the courts.

For more information on addressing smoke in your building, click here.

For more information about the legal aspects of prohibiting smoking in Illinois, click here.