NYC to Ban Smoking in Apartments?
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has continued his anti-smoking campaign and has now targeted residential housing. The alleged NYC apartment smoking ban, which isn't a ban at all, would require owners to be upfront with current and prospective tenants about the building's smoking policy.
If passed by the New York City Council, the legislation would require landlords to adopt a written smoking policy. It would need to address where smoking is and is not allowed, such as on balconies and in indoor and outdoor common areas.
Bloomberg adamantly denies that he has any desire to implement an actual NYC apartment smoking ban, reports the Wall Street Journal. Instead, he wants tenants to have all necessary information before moving out.
Because of air circulation and density, people who live in apartments are more likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke than those living in detached houses.
Even if this legislation doesn't pass, New York City tenants still have some rights should they be bothered by smoking on the premises. This is especially true if a tenant suffers from a disability, such as severe asthma, that is irritated by secondhand smoke.
Fair housing laws require landlords to make reasonable accommodations so that persons with disabilities can live in a dwelling of their choice. Courts have required landlords to install special filters in air conditioning units and windows to comply with these rules. Landlords have also been ordered to adopt no-smoking policies or limit smoking to certain areas of the property.
If you think you're entitled to such an accommodation, go ahead and ask. If your landlord resists, contact a NYC discrimination lawyer or a NYC tenant lawyer. They can help you win a building-wide smoking ban if a wider NYC apartment smoking ban is not to be had.