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Are you a landlord/managing agent of a residential premises that has ‘common areas’ such as shared hallways, kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms? If so the Smoke free legislation, which came into force in England on the 1st July 2007, applies to you.
The new law requires that virtually all enclosed public areas and workplaces to be smoke free, in accordance with regulations made under the Health Act 2006.
Premises are considered to be ‘enclosed’ if they have a ceiling or roof and, except for doors, windows or passageways, are wholly enclosed.
The main purpose of the legislation is to protect employees and members of the public from the effects of second hand smoke, which are known to cause a range of serious medical problems such as lung cancer and heart disease.
Second hand smoke can linger in enclosed spaces long after someone has been smoking and scientists have found that ventilation systems are not able to eliminate the risks of second hand smoke.
The legislation covers the smoking of tobacco or anything that contains tobacco, or the smoking of any other substance, including cigarettes, pipes and cigars.
With residential accommodation the regulations set out that private dwellings will not be required to be smoke free, with the exception of any parts of the premises that are used in common by more than one premises, e.g. a common indoor stairwell in a block divided into flats or a communal kitchen in a shared residence.
We are responsible for enforcing the Smokefree legislation, which makes it an offence for someone to smoke in such premises and carries a fixed penalty of £50 or a fine not exceeding £200.
All smoke free premises/areas have to display no smoking signs that meet the requirements as set out in the Smoke free (Signs) Regulations.
Owners/managers who fail to display no smoking signs face a fixed penalty of £200 (discounted to £150 if paid within 15 days) or a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale (currently £1000). Further, owners/managers who fail to prevent smoking in a smoke free premises face a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale (currently £2500).