The Trend Toward Non-Smoking Rentals

Posted by Teresa on October 15, 2010 under Housing Trends | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

tenant screening, background checkSmokers are getting used to resisting the urge to light up in bars, restaurants, ball parks and offices. Some cities are considering extending smoking bans to beaches and public parks, too. But generally, smokers can retreat to their homes and indulge as much as they’d like—but this too is becoming a thing of the past.

More rental properties are enforcing no-smoking policies. Tenants are hearing they can be evicted for lighting up. Rental property owners are concerned—not about the smoker’s health, typically—but about the affect of secondhand smoke on non-smokers.

The Related Companies, a development firm with 17 apartment buildings in Manhattan, instituted smoking bans in some of them a year ago. Smoking tenants who already live in the buildings will be allowed to continue, but new tenants must promise to not smoke at home.

Other developers and property management companies have extended smoking bans to common areas, such as sidewalks leading to apartment buildings, private patios and shared terraces.

Across the U.S., the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is encouraging public housing agencies to ban smoking in all or some of their units. Corpus Christi, TX, Richmond, CA and Snohomish County, WA have instituted non-smoking policies. The intent is to keep tenants safe from second-hand smoke, reduce the danger of fires, and save money on clean up when smokers vacate rental units.

Some landlords have made the decision to not pressure or force smoking tenants to vacate their properties. While there are no laws that prohibit landlords from banning smoking, courts have ruled for tenants who broke their leases because of the landlord’s failure to protect them from second-hand smoke.

The overall trend seems to be toward non-smoking buildings. Perhaps the future will include two kinds of apartment buildings: “smoking ok”  and “no smoking allowed.”