Landlords

Advantages of Smokefree Apartments

Save on Maintenance Costsphoto: woman holding keys to house
A unit that has been smoked in can cost thousands of dollars more to clean than a non-smoked- in unit. Carpet and window covering need to be replaced, countertops may have cigarette burns and walls will need to be cleaned before painting. If the damage is serious the drywall may even need to be replaced.

Air conditioning and ductwork also need more maintenance when smoking is allowed in a building.

Eliminate Cigarette Butt Litter
Butt litter is unsightly and toxic. It is especially harmful for children, pets and the local bird population because they can pick it up and eat it. The chemicals in cigarette butts are the same toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke. Butts are also made of cellulose acetate and can take over 10 years to biodegrade.[i]

Reduce Turnover
Tenants bothered by secondhand smoke will often just move without stating why. Tenants who know that they are protected from secondhand smoke value that amenity, and may be more inclined to stay, rather than take a chance on exposure somewhere else. Also, because it takes longer to clean a smoked in unit, it will sit vacant a longer time without being rented.[ii]

Reduce risk of fire
According to the national Fire Protection Association (NFPA), smoking materials were responsible for 17,600 home fires and 490 deaths in 2011. A quarter of those deaths were to a person who was not smoking.[iii]

Reduce Insurance Rates
Because of the reduced risk of fire some insurance companies offer discounts to those properties that have no smoking policies outlined in the lease and therefore are enforceable.

Reduce Complaints
Most people want to live smokefree.[iv] Many of those are bothered enough by secondhand smoke coming into their home that they will complain to the neighbor or management about secondhand smoke coming into their homes. This can also lead to difficulty between neighbors. That is disruptive not just to management but also to surrounding neighbors.

Reduce Liability Exposure
Most standard insurance policies exclude coverage for claims property damage or bodily injury arising out of “pollution.” These standard policies define “pollution” as “any solid, liquid, gaseous or thermal irritant or contaminant, including smoke, vapor, soot, fumes, acids, alkalis, chemicals and waste.”[v]

As the California Environmental Protection Agency has declared secondhand smoke to be a toxic Air Contaminant[vi] and the US Surgeon General has stated that there is no safe level of exposure to it[vii], it is no stretch of the imagination to see where an insurance carrier might deny payment for claims arising out of exposure to it.

Here are some resources to help you:

Page Last Updated: July 23, 2018


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