Sun Sentinel reporter, Paul Owers, recently reported on two new "smoke-free condo projects" both of which are being built in Fort Lauderdale.
While the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in public buildings and that ban extends to an association's common areas, this law does not prohibit smoking inside individual units.
So what exactly does it mean to be a "smoke-free building"? According to the developers of these two new luxury buildings, it means that smoking inside the units will be strictly prohibited with any violators subject to fines and further legal action.
Typically, developers like to keep their pool of eligible purchasers as wide as possible for all the obvious reasons. So why are the developers of these two new projects telling smokers that this is not the community for them?
Well, there has been a growing trend over the last few years whereby more and more residents in shared ownership communities complaining that their neighbors' excessive secondhand smoke is impacting the quality of their lives. Clearly, the developers of these Broward County projects have been tracking that trend and are building these communities as a result.
While it is encouraging to see that the developers of these two smoke-free buildings are willing to create specific housing choices for the people seeking them out, I am still not convinced that most developers are engaged enough in tracking what their target audience really wants. If you follow various Social Media circles devoted to community association dialogue, you quickly realize that there is a hue and cry for change in the type and number of housing choices currently available.
Some people want more restrictive communities which clearly prohibit smoking, pets and rentals from inception while others want housing choices located outside the confines of a mandatory association setting altogether. I am surprised that there rarely seem to be developers or developers' counsel joining in on the dialogue in these forums. After all, developers want to sell their inventory so for developers who have been in business for decades in particular, why not do some research on the changing consumer perspectives out there? Relying on decades-old uniform covenants no longer seems as cost-effective as it once did.