As investors, you have to put yourself in the position of your potential tenants when reviewing a property’s suitability.
With your landlord hat on, then, do you think purchasing an apartment in a designated smoke-free building would add value to your investment, or detract?
On the one hand, smokers represent around 15% of the population so you would be cutting out a decent section of your potential rental pool by investing in this type of property.
But on the plus side? You could say goodbye to yellowing walls, to cigarette holes in the curtains, to smelly smoke-infused carpets…
One developer is so convinced of this idea’s merits that he’s gone ahead with plans to develop an entire complex in Perth that will be smoke free, enforced by a $500 ban by anyone caught lighting up.
What do you think: is this concept brilliant or batty?
Read the original article from News.com.au below:
ANDREA Cicholas has always loved apartment life.
But after selling two flats within the space of a year because of cigarette “smoke drift” from neighbouring apartments, the 43-year-old says she won’t be returning to a strata-titled property until she finds a non-smoking complex.
Now living in a house in Coogee, Ms Cicholas, a ship’s officer in the oil-and-gas sector, says her experiences have led her to campaign for developers to create non-smoking bylaws in stratas.
Ms Cicholas’s first unit in Hamilton Hill was wedged between apartments occupied by smokers on either side.
“I moved in during May last year and moved out in October,” Ms Cicholas said.
“In the six months I was living at the unit, there was only one occasion where I was able to go out onto my balcony without being exposed to a cloud of smoke.”
At the second property, another apartment in Hamilton Hill, Ms Cicholas said she pleaded with the landlord of the neighbouring flat to find a non-smoking tenant.
“But, sure enough, the first time I saw them they were out on their balcony having a cigarette,” she said.
Ms Cicholas said she believed smoking should not be allowed on apartment balconies because she felt it was intrusive to neighbours.
“You’re not allowed to smoke in the workplace, so I don’t see why people should be forced to endure unwanted cigarette smoke in their own homes,” she said.
Ms Cicholas said she would ideally like to see a change to the 1985 Strata Titles Act to address the issue.
She is also calling on developers to introduce non-smoking bylaws to units.
“I’ve contacted quite a few developers and their response has often been, ‘You can’t do that, that’s illegal’,” she said.
But there are currently several apartment complexes in NSW and Queensland that are totally smoke-free, and they are also quite popular in America.
“Given that 85 per cent of the population are non-smokers and presumably the same percentage don’t want to be exposed to second-hand smoke, I don’t see why there wouldn’t be a market for them here.”
Ms Cicholas said developers were scared of making waves.
“I think they are particularly worried about scaring off investors, but as an investor myself I look at the positive side, that smoke-free apartments would keep complexes cleaner and in a better condition,” she said Ms Cicholas said that as smokers had become the minority, people had become more sensitive to the effects of cigarette smoke.
“I don’t think smokers realise how much they actually impact on others,” she said. “Ideally, I’d love to move back into an apartment, it’s much more suited to my lifestyle. But until I find a suitable smoke-free complex I won’t risk the same situation happening again.”
Buyers have to butt out in a Perth first
PROPERTY developer Gary Dempsey knew he would come up against some opposition when he set out to create Perth’s first non-smoking development.
But after losing his mother, uncle and aunt to lung cancer, there was nothing in the world that would change his mind. Taskers in North Fremantle, a luxury complex of 110 apartments spread over four buildings, which is set for completion in May, will be Perth’s first non-smoking apartment complex.
Lawyers warned Mr Dempsey against introducing the non-smoking policy but his personal experience told him it was the right thing to do.
“I lost my mother when I was in my 20s, so that had quite a profound effect on my attitude towards smoking,” Mr Dempsey said.
“We’ve definitely lost sales contracts over the rule, but at the same time, other people have told us they think it’s fantastic.” Mr Dempsey said any residents who broke the policy would be fined $500, the maximum penalty under the Strata Titles Act. Apartments at the complex start from $588,000. Visit www.taskersliving.com
Cancer Council backs ban WA
Cancer Council and the Australia Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) are calling on the State Government and Landgate to ban smoking in common areas of all new apartments.
They will also be advising changes to the 1985 Strata Titles Act to make it easier for strata councils to introduce non-smoking bylaws.
WA Cancer Council legal policy adviser Caitlin Kameron said the Act’s silence on smoking caused confusion for residents.
“Many strata councils are not aware they are able to introduce non-smoking bylaws and the procedural requirements make it difficult to achieve, even when there is overwhelming support for the proposal,” Ms Kameron said.
“The WA Cancer Council is not trying to stop people smoking in their own homes where it does not impact on neighbours, rather to minimise the public’s exposure to second-hand smoke and make it easier for buildings that do want to place restrictions on smoking.”
ACOSH president Mike Daube said the campaign was about finding a balance between personal freedoms and protecting non-smokers.
“I think situations would need to looked upon more as a case-by-case basis – areas such as balconies are quite tricky, but could be considered common areas.” Mr Daube said ACOSH often received calls from people living in strata units experiencing problems with neighbours’ smoking.
Landgate general manager operations Bruce Roberts said there was nothing stopping strata councils from making non-smoking bylaws.
“There is nothing in the Strata Titles Act now that prevents the creation of smoke-free zones by the owners of the strata scheme, if they agree to do so.”
Smokers Rights Australia spokesman Clinton Mead said he was not opposed to developments introducing bylaws, but introducing government regulations would be a breach of personal freedoms.[/box]