Are you suffering from secondhand smoke drifting into your apartment or condo? You are not alone. The secondhand smoke from even one tenant smoking indoors can drift into multiple other units and cause health problems and reduced quality of life for other residents.
Thankfully, landlords and property management companies are becoming more responsive to the majority of their tenants who want to live in a home that is free from secondhand smoke exposure. A smokefree building is in the best interest of both tenants and landlords. Many types of rental housing are adopting smokefree policies to not only protect the health of the tenants, but also to save money by reducing maintenance and turnover costs, and reduce the risk of fire.
What can I do?
Most cities and states do not have laws that address smoking in rental housing. However, you can work with your landlord and neighbors to adopt a smokefree policy for your building. Today you can learn more about your rights and options, and how to work with the management.
First, look at your lease. It may not specifically address smoking, but there might be terms and conditions about noise or other types of behaviors that can impact the quality of life and safe enjoyment of the premises, which might be used to make a case that your neighbors should not be smoking in a way that comes into your unit.
Second, remind your landlord that it is legal to adopt a smokefree policy. Many landlords are hesitant to adopt a smokefree policy because they mistakenly think it is illegal or discriminatory to do so. Even with an existing lease, a no-smoking lease addendum can be added at any time.
Third, read the documents listed below to learn about what you can do to address secondhand smoke in your building. Then share these resources with your landlord. Communicating practical information to your landlord that shows why it is easy and in their best interest to adopt a smokefree policy can be an effective way to convince him or her to support your desire to be free from unwanted secondhand smoke drifting into your apartment.
Do you live in a condominium? Learn more about some specific condominium options here:
What's happening in your area?
Smokefree multi-unit housing coalitions are working in many states and have developed a number of very useful tools on smokefree housing for tenants. Please visit their websites and contact the coalitions to learn more about smokefree housing in your area. Even if you don't see your state listed below, you can use any of the tools and tips on these websites.