GUIDE TO THE SMOKING BAN AND RESIDENTIAL ACCOMMODATIONV1-JC-16012014

Key Points

Smoking is banned in common parts of domestic premises e.g. communal areas in a block of flats. This does not apply in a shared house nor in a single dwelling. It does not apply in individual flats.

Prohibition on smoking

Introduced from 1st July 2007, the smoking ban prohibited smoking in shops, offices, pubs etc, in England. Certain residential accommodation is also directly affected. Landlords, in particular, need to be aware of their responsibilities. The common parts and shared accommodation in flats, bedsits and hostels are subject to the ban. Similarly, smoking is prohibited in the common parts of blocks of flats.

Which parts of residential premises are affected?

To explain why and how the ban operates one needs to understand more about the rules. Essentially, there are three basic requirements to look at in deciding which parts of residential premises are affected by the ban. Firstly, where the premises are open to the public (not likely in most residential accommodation) or they are used as a "place of work" by more than one person, even if the persons who work there do so at different times or only intermittently. Second, the premises must be enclosed or substantially enclosed. Third, they must not be covered by any of the exemptions. For these purposes "a private dwelling" is exempt.

A place of work includes the common parts (e.g. halls, stairs and landings) and lifts in a block of flats. This is because maintenance men, carpet fitters, decorators etc will work there from time to time and as will the Landlord or his employees. This probably does not extend to casual visits such as by GPs visiting patients or pizza delivery men. It does not have to be just a place of work for an employee but can be work on a self employed basis. Incidentally work includes voluntary work. In reality, it is very difficult to conceive of a case where the common parts of blocks of flats, bedsits, hostels etc will not be a place of work for at least two or more people for these purposes. The same will apply to shared accommodation such as bathrooms, toilets, kitchens or lounges which are used in common. The ban will only apply to those premises which are enclosed and not those in the open air.

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