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No Ifs, Ands Or Butts – Smoking Is Not Allowed In This Co-op

In Jhoanna Robledo’s No Pets, No Parties—No Smoking? A co-op votes to declare itself smoke-free, and potential buyers fume [NY Mag] [1] the topic of a smoke-free environment enters the housing discourse.

Planes, trains, taxis and commercial buildings ban smoking, why can’t a co-op?

Dennis Hevesi covered this topic for the New York Times in 2002 in the article Co-op Board Bans Smoking in Apartments for New Owners [2]. The rule was eventually withdrawn because of the backlash which was interesting since existing tenants were grandfathered in. That rule would only affect new buyers. This current co-op rule affects 100% of the occupants but this building is much smaller than the Lincoln Towers co-op that tried it 4 years ago.

_“It’s absolutely enforceable,” confirms co-op attorney Adam Leitman Bailey. “By signing on to a co-op, you’re giving up some of your personal rights, and in this case, that would be smoking.” Co-ops, after all, have long dictated “house rules,” requiring owners to carpet floors, turn off music late at night, and forgo pets. _

Apparently smoking is a privilege and not a right.

Does it impact value?

Its not clear whether this restriction would have an impact of values within the building or not, but I suspect it doesn’t, or if it does, its either nominal or virtually impossible to correlate with empirical evidence. Anytime you add a restriction to the marketability, you risk limiting the buyer pool that would be interested in a purchase. However, because of the health issues are involved, the same argument could be made in the opposite direction because you may actually atract new buyers looking to avoid such an environment which provides an offset to those buyers you may have lost.

Other discussions on the topic and all relate to condos