Advocates for a smoke-free British Columbia
June 1, 2015

BC townhome buyer gives up on purchasing new home to avoid living next door to a smoker

Valerie Maundrell's Story

“I was determined not to live next to a smoker,” said Valerie Maundrell, a homeowner in South Surrey, BC, “so much so that my husband and I let go of an accepted offer on a beautiful new townhome when we found out a smoker lived next door.”
June is Smoke-Free Housing Month. For resources and more information, go to SmokeFreeHousingBC.ca
 
Maundrell does not suffer from a breathing condition, nor has she any young children with young lungs to protect; she simply wants to live to healthy life. For her that includes minimizing exposure to harmful second-hand smoke.
 
“My husband and I ended up buying a pre-construction townhome and crossed our fingers that our new neighbours would be non-smokers. Fortunately, we got lucky,” continued Maundrell.
 
“But while second-hand smoke is not a problem for us, another owner in our townhouse complex is suffering as a result of a next door neighbour who smokes.
 
“The good news is that my husband sits on our Strata Council. In addition to lobbying the Strata Council, I’m working to educate my neighbours about second-hand smoke and seek support for making our complex 100 percent smoke-free inside and out. So far support is strong, but we’ll need to get a ¾ vote of owners for the new bylaw to pass,” says Maundrell.
 
Maundrell looks forward to the day when the status quo is that all multi-unit housing is automatically 100 percent smoke-free, and that if Strata Councils want to allow smoking, they’ll need to change their bylaws – not the other way around as it is today.
 
“Now that I’m a new townhome owner, I’ve been looking into strata bylaws and smoking rules. I truly didn’t realize how much of a problem it can be to resolve smoking problems, and at the same time how easy it is for owners to come to an agreement and make a building smoke-free. I don’t get why more people aren’t doing it. Most people I know are non-smokers and want to breathe clean air."
 
According to health advocates the BC Lung Association and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, owners who smoke in the home may in future face more than complaints from their non-smoking neighbours.
 
The results of a 2015 survey of BC REALTORS® suggest that when they want to sell, they may also have a harder time selling, and get less money for their property as well. Read the full news release of the survey results here.
 
For info on how to implement a no-smoking bylaw visit
 
If you want to quit smoking you’re not alone. In BC, quitters now outnumber smokers by 2:1. For help with quitting visit quitnow.ca or call the helpline for one-on-one support at 1-877-455-2233.
 
Media Contacts
  • Jack Boomer
    Director, Clean Air Coalition of BC
    T 250 721 4268
    C 250 589 4268
    jackboomer@shaw.ca

    Katrina van Bylandt
    Director, Health Communications
    BC Lung Association
    T 604 731 5864
    vanbylandt@bc.lung.ca

    Jennifer Randall Nelson
    Manager, Communications
    T 778 372 8024
    jennifer.randallnelson
    @heartandstroke.ca