Landlords Tell More Renters: No Smoking

July 1, 2013

Many landlords maintain nonsmoking policies, but the bans are growing in numbers, according to the National Multi Housing Council, a trade group of landlords. 

One of the nation’s largest landlords, Related Cos., announced June 19 that it would phase in a smoking ban in all of its apartments (that includes on terraces and private balconies). The company owns 40,000 units in 17 states. 

Several municipalities are also taking up the smoking ban issue, with some municipalities moving to ban smoking in all multifamily housing in an area. For example, city officials in Walnut Creek, Calif., are expected to take such a step in July. 

Some smoking-advocacy groups are speaking out against the bans, calling them “intrusive” in prohibiting a behavior that’s legal. 

But with tight rental supplies and high demand, landlords may be feeling more confident to implement such bans, says Rick Haughey, vice president of operations and technology for the National Multi Housing Council. Landlords say that the smoking bans are being driven by concerns that secondhand smoke can drift in from unit to unit. Also, the extra costs involved by having smokers on the premises are driving change. 

“There are higher cleaning costs when smokers move out of apartments,” Haughey says. “Any soft surface would absorb the smells. Carpets would have to be cleaned, maybe even removed. And drapes would more likely need to be cleaned — even the wall would need a deeper clean than you would otherwise have to do. I believe you would find reduced insurance costs as well. So there are financial incentives [to the ban], but I don't know if those costs have been quantified, industrywide.”

Source: “Change in the air: Rental smoking bans,” The Chicago Tribune (June 28, 2013)

Read more

Survey Suggests Smoking in Home Chips Away at its Value