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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 and vaping anything (including tobacco and cannabis) is prohibited everywhere. That means no smoking or vaping are allowed in individual apartments or common indoor and outdoor areas. Some smoke-free buildings may allow smoking or vaping 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.
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, both indoors and outdoors, to be smoke-free, or just apartments and indoor areas? You can involve residents in the process, possibly through a survey, like this sample. (Note: New smoke-free policies do not apply to current tenants of rent-regulated apartments unless they agree to the policy.)
- 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 treating smoking and vaping
- 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 policy with current and prospective tenants.