Do you know what your Condominium Bylaws contain?
One of the major rewards to living in a condominium community is the lack of personal responsibility that an owner must take in certain areas such as lawn maintenance and snow removal. However, there are trade-offs to consider, such as the personal responsibility one must take in keeping up-to-date on the association bylaws and bylaw amendments. For instance, what if you enjoyed “lighting up” every-now-and-then but one day discovered that you were committing a bylaw infraction by smoking in the confines of your own home?
On November 7, 2006, a Jefferson County District Court judge in Colorado upheld a homeowners association order barring a couple from smoking in their townhouse. The case was initiated as a result of the condo association amending its bylaws to prohibit smoking. The co-owners argued that it was unreasonable for the association to ban smoking in their home, on their patio, or anywhere on the condominium grounds.
The condo association responded to complaints from other co-owners who said that cigarette smoke was seeping into their units, creating a smoke smell that was quite strong at times. They argued that, as with loud music, the rights of the community trump the rights of an individual resident. What did the court decide?
Jefferson County District Court Judge Lily Oeffler agreed with the condominium association when she ruled that the association could ban smoking inside co-owner’s home units because “smoke and/or smoke smell” is not contained to one area and the smell “constitutes a nuisance.” This may be the first of many cases involving this issue; therefore, it would behoove all co-owners to be aware of their condominium and/or homeowner association documents as well as the bylaw amendments that are being passed in their associations.
Robert Meisner is a real estate attorney and condo specialist. He has been practicing for 35 years and is the author of the brand new book: Condo Living. The book is published by Momentum Books, and can be purchased at major book stores or directly through the publisher at http://www.momentumbooks.com/ or 800-758-1870 x109.