Options for Homes, a not-for-profit developer, recently announced that it will be building a new condominium, The Humber, where smoking of tobacco and cannabis will NOT be an option anywhere on the condominium property, including the units. However, vaping will still be permitted within the units. This is the first condominium in Toronto where a prohibition on smoking is contained in the condominium documents from the outset of the creation of the condominium.
Currently, under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, smoking is prohibited “in any common area in a condominium” including foyers, elevators, stairwells, exercise rooms, party rooms, parking garages and corridors among others. But as this legislation does not apply to the units or the outdoor common elements, it is up to each individual condominium corporation to prohibit smoking in the units, the outdoor common elements and any exclusive-use common elements. As we noted in a previous blog post, many condominium corporations are implementing rules to prohibit the smoking and cultivation of recreational cannabis in units before it becomes legal in Canada.
The Humber’s prohibition addresses some concern about the upcoming legalization of cannabis. The cultivation of cannabis in the units and balconies will also be prohibited at the Humber.
The Humber is being marketed as a family-friendly, as it will feature primarily two and three-bedroom units. The smoking prohibition is seen as consistent with the family-friendly focus. It will help address some of the negative effects of smoke permeating from a unit to the common elements and to other units. It will also eliminate cigarette butts being tossed over balconies and balcony fires resulting from improper disposal of lit cigarette butts.
Before making the decision to develop a smoke-less condominium, Options for Homes conducted a survey which indicated that 75% of the survey participants would be more likely to purchase a unit in a smoke-free condominium and for 13% of the respondents, it would make no difference to them.
Options for Homes is a not-for profit developer that makes home ownership more affordable. As long as purchasers have a 5% down payment, Options for Homes offers loans for an additional 10% to 15% down payment (for purchases only in Options for Homes developments) that are not repayable until the home is sold or rented. There is currently a wait-list of prospective purchasers.
It will be interesting to see if more new condominiums will be developed with a complete smoke prohibition. While many purchasers may be more inclined to buy a unit in a smoke-free or smoke-less condominium, the pool of potential buyers will be somewhat smaller with the exclusion of those smokers who want the freedom to smoke in their units.