In June of 2008, Pennsylvania enacted the Clean Indoor Air Act, which banned smoking in most public places. The Department of Health has primary enforcement authority, but the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs is charged with enforcement for certain licensed professions under its authority – including real estate.
Shortly after the law was enacted, the Bureau proposed a schedule of fines for smoking violations. And only three years later, those fines have now taken effect. This means that if there’s a smoking-related complaint filed about your office, the Real Estate Commission can fine you.
There are three violations of the Clean Indoor Air Act: smoking in a no smoking area, allowing someone else to smoke in a no smoking area, and failing to post the required no smoking signs. Fines for each violation have been set at $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second offense, and $1,000 for the third and each subsequent offense. Since signs “shall be prominently posted and properly maintained…by the owner, operator, manager, or other person having control” of an area, it is possible that fines for failing to post signage could be levied against a broker or record or an office manager.
Is this the most important and complex compliance issue you’ll ever have to deal with? No. But at the same time, there’s no reason to tempt fate by not complying. Posting a “No Smoking” sign in your office will only take a moment, and will prevent the possibility of fines down the road.
The Department of Health has even made it easier on you by posting a compliance toolkit and free printable signs. So get out the tape and thumbtacks, and put up a sign today if you don’t already have one posted.