Up in Smoke

Related Companies Bans Smoking in Residential Buildings

Going forward, there will be no tuba playing allowed in the early morning hours at any of Related Companies’ rental buildings.

Oh, and no smoking either.

NoSmokingSymbolYes, following the completion of a pilot program launched in 2009, Related Companies is banning smoking across more than 40,000 rental residences it owns and manages.

Under the new rules, new tenants – and those whose leases expire – will have to sign a contract promising not to smoke anywhere in the building.  And the company really means anywhere, including private terraces or balconies; or, tenants face eviction.

“It’s not unlike somebody playing their tuba at two in the morning and compromising their neighbors’ efforts to enjoy their apartments,” Jeffrey Brodsky, president of Related Management, told The New York Times. “There’s an expectation of certain behavior.”

The ban applies to the company’s new rental buildings, including a 386-unit rental in Hudson Yards at 500 West 30th Street and projects slated in Santa Monica, California, Chicago and Boston.

The move comes with declining smoking across the city over the last decade, which came with major legislation banning smoking in restaurants, bars and, more recently, parks.  The Times noted that the smoking rate declined to 15 percent in 2011 from 22 percent in 2002.  Mayor Michael Bloomberg is also trying to raise the age limit for cigarette purchases to 21.

“This policy should serve as an example to other residential building owners across the country,” said Donald Distasio, EVP of the American Cancer Society‘s Eastern Division, in a prepared statement.  “There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and the American Cancer Society applauds this action.”

Related began its antismoking program in 2009 at TriBeCa Green in Battery Park City and the Sierra in Chelsea.  While courts have generally supported smoking bans in apartment buildings, guaranteed lease renewals on subsidized apartments complicate the situation, the Times noted.

“Condos are trickier,” the Times noted, because two-thirds of residents need to approve the law, but examples exist in that space: the 32-story Ariel West, a condo on the Upper West Side, banned smoking in 2011; last winter, the 98-unit One Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn banned smoking in all spaces except for private terraces and its roof; and this spring, the 670-unit Zeckendorf Towers at Union Square staked a claim as the largest apartment complex in the country implement the ban.

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