How do I develop smoking restrictions?
Local landlords who have smoking restrictions tell us implementing the restrictions can be as simple as a handshake, but it is a good idea to write your rule into the rental agreement. You can place the smoking restrictions under “other rules” or add a lease addendum using our Model Lease Language. Here are some guidelines for what to include in your policy, when to adopt your policy, how to get tenant input, and special considerations for HUD-Assisted housing.
What to include in your policy:
- List of the places where smoking is and is not allowed
- Who the policy applies to (tenants, guests, staff, service persons, etc.)
- Who is responsible for enforcing the rule
- Consequences for violations
- Effective date of the policy
- Definition of smoking
- Whether to have a designated smoking area outside (make sure the designated area is located 25 feet away from doors, windows, and major walkways)
- When to implement your policy
When you are opening a new building or complex, the easiest thing to do is to prohibit smoking from the beginning. When converting an existing building or complex, you may need to phase-in the policy as you fill vacancies or as leases are renewed. You can also go “smokefree” after a certain date if you follow landlord-tenant law requirements, including giving advance notice and having tenants agree to the changes in writing.
How to get tenant input
In some cases, you may want to get input from your tenants about their preferences. You might want to know how many tenants are bothered by secondhand smoke, how many smoke, how many smoke inside, or how many tenants would be willing to move so you can designate smoking and smoking restricted buildings. We have a Sample Tenant Survey if you choose to include this step.