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Managers and residents of multifamily buildings across the country are discovering the benefits of smoke-free housing.
A 100% smoke-free building is one where smoking tobacco products are prohibited everywhere. That means no smoking in individual apartments or common indoor and outdoor areas. Some smoke-free buildings may allow smoking only in a limited outdoor area.
Everyone benefits from smoke-free housing:
- For owners, there is less property damage and fewer turnover costs. Also, the lower risk of a fire can lead to savings on insurance.
- For residents, the air is cleaner and healthier in their homes, as well as in common areas, such as hallways, lobbies and stairwells.
Smoke-Free Housing in NYC
The first residential buildings in New York to adopt 100% no-smoking rules have opened their doors. Many residences are now considering this policy. A 2014 poll of city voters found that nearly 70% want to live in smoke-free housing. You can find a list of smoke-free buildings in the city through SmokeFreeHousingNY.
Smoke-Free Housing in Other Cities
Smoke-free housing is popular in several major cities, including Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle, where tens of thousands of apartment units are now smoke-free.
Disclosure of Smoking Policies in Residential Buildings
Residential buildings with three or more residential units are required to create a policy on smoking and disclose it to tenants and prospective tenants.
Building owners are responsible for choosing how to enforce tenant violations.
Steps for Building Owners to Make a Building Smoke-Free
- Decide the policy. Do you want the entire building and all common areas to be smoke-free, or just apartments and indoor areas? You can involve residents in the process, possibly through a survey. Note, rent-regulated apartments may have special rules.
- Educate residents. You must disclose your policy to all current and prospective tenants, either in writing or by posting the policy in a prominent location in the building. This notice should include:
- Policy details
- Benefits of the rule
- Effective date
- Resources for quitting smoking
- Add the rule to leases. You should add the policy to all new leases. The policy will not apply to current rental tenants until they sign a new lease.
- Enforce the rule. You should post signs, remove ashtrays and smoking litter, and start discussing the rule to current and prospective tenants.