No Smoking in Your Home!

By Lanier Coulter, Esq.

Published December 31, 2012

Over the past few years condominium buildings have prohibited smoking, not just on the common elements, but even in one's unit.  The issue has made the national news and time after time, the condominium association has prevailed when it properly amended its governing documents to prohibit smoking.  At least one jurisdiction has actually passed a local ordinance prohibiting smoking in multi-family dwellings due to the impact of second-hand smoking.  I will note that in another jurisdiction where an owner has claimed the association was obligated to take action against a smoker because it was a nuisance, the court did not agree.  

In my opinion, a simple rule or policy prohibiting smoking inside a unit in Georgia could be challenged in court. In jurisdictions where smoking inside a unit is prohibited, either a local ordinance prohibits smoking inside multi-family dwellings or the condominium has amended its governing documents to prohibit smoking inside units.  If a condominiumís governing documents are properly amended to expressly prohibit smoking inside a unit, then there is a strong argument the prohibition would be enforceable here in Georgia.  That being said, there is no direct case law in Georgia on this issue.

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G. Lanier Coulter, Jr. - owner/founder of the firm. He is a 1998 graduate of Oglethorpe University and a 2001 graduate of Emory University School of Law, where he was the recipient

of the Attorneys' Title Guaranty Fund Award.  


Lanier is a member of the state Bar of Georgia and the DeKalb County Bar Association.  He is the author of "Don't Wait Until it's Too Late, Statutes of Limitation and How They Can Affect Your Association's Rights" which appeared in Georgia Commons, a Publication of Community Associations Institute of Georgia, Inc.  


Lanier practices primarily in the area of community association law.  Lanier assists associations in interpretation and enforcement of their governing documents (covenant enforcement and collection of assessments) and in the negotiation, financing and execution of major renovation and rehabilitation projects.  He is an instructor of continuing education courses for community association managers and attorneys, including, "Dealing With Difficult People," "Problem Solving for Planned Communities," and "Condominium Law." 


Currently Lanier serves as a member of the Amicus Committee the Community Association Institute and a member of the Legislative Action Committee for the Georgia for Chapter of the Community Association Institute.  He was the recipient of the 2011 Rising Star Award in the CAI-Georgia Chapter.

Contact Lanier at: