If you’re like other landlords, you know just how much time and money it takes to repaint, re-carpet, and turn over apartments that have housed smokers. Maybe your tenants have complained about tobacco smoke drifting from their neighbors’ units. Maybe you’ve heard that other landlords eliminated these hassles by adopting comprehensive smoking restrictions, and you’re wondering if such a policy will work for you, too.
A smoke-free policy is NOT discriminatory.
There is no constitutional right to smoke. In fact, under the Maryland Clean Indoor Air Act, all enclosed public places and workplaces, including common areas of apartments, must be smokefree.
You know that you may lawfully regulate tenant behavior that impacts other tenants or presents a risk to the unit or building: pet policies, noise restrictions, prohibition on water beds, occupancy limits, restrictions on grilling, and more. With that power, you may restrict smoking on your property, even inside individual units.
Tenants do have rights relevant to the smoking issues—the right to be free from smoke infiltration from a neighboring unit if that infiltration rises to the level of a nuisance or a breach of the warranty of quiet enjoyment or habitability. In fact, non-smokers with serious breathing disabilities or smoke allergies may have legal protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act. Landlords may be obligated to take reasonable steps to ameliorate harm to such an individual.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), landlords offering Section 8 housing may restrict smoking in individual units as long as the policy is not used to target a protected class or minority. Landlords may be required to “grandfather” current smoking tenants until lease renewal.
You play a crucial role as a property owner.
As a landlord, you can play a role in eliminating secondhand smoke, a significant cause of residential fires and a major cause of preventable illness and death in the U.S.
There are many misconceptions about smoke-free policies that you may find it difficult to make an informed decision. This site provides much of the information that you will need to make your property smoke-free. You can always contact us for additional information.
Let us tell you more about smoking FAQs , and your Legal Rights as a landlord. We’ll also show you how to Save Money, Save Your Building, and Save Lives and give you the Tools or going smoke-free in your building.