HIGHLIGHTS: Smoke-free Public Housing Final Rule
On November 30, 2016, U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro announced that public housing developments in the U.S. will be required to provide a smoke-free environment for their residents. The final rule includes input from more than 1,000 comments received from the public, including Public Housing Agencies (PHAs), housing and public health organizations, and tenants.
The final rule will:
• Require more than 3,100 public housing agencies to implement smokefree policies within 18 months of the final rule being adopted.
• Prohibit the use of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and hookah (waterpipes) in all living units, indoor common areas and administrative offices.
• Prohibit the use of tobacco products covered by the policy in outdoor areas within 25 ft. from buildings.
• Allow for further restrictions (e.g., buffer around playgrounds, restrict smoking to designated outdoor areas, property-wide smoke-free policy).
• Apply to all housing types, including single family units.
• Require PHAs to document their smoke-free policies in their PHA plans, a process that requires resident engagement and public meetings.
• Help improve the health of more than 2 million public housing residents, including 760,000 children.
• Save an estimated $153 million every year in costs from secondhand smoke attributable healthcare, repairs of smoke-permitted units and smoking attributable fires.
• Impact the more than 940,000 units that are currently not smoke-free, including more than 500,000 units inhabited by elderly individuals.
**The final rule does not cover:
• Housing units in mixed finance developments.
• Privately owned, federally subsidized multifamily housing (e.g. project-based Section 8 housing).
• Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), including electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes).
CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) is committed to assisting HUD in rolling out and implementing this landmark policy through: scientific support; connecting HUD to State Tobacco Control Programs; helping to facilitate cessation, communication, and evaluation support; and coordinating activities with other Federal agencies and partners.
More specifically, CDC has worked closely with HUD in the following ways:
• Scientific Support: Informing decision-makers on the public health benefits of smoke-free multiunit housing policies
• Coordination: Connecting HUD to State Tobacco Control Programs and National Networks, as well as other federal agencies and national partners
• Technical Assistance: Supporting policy development, implementation, and maintenance • Cessation Support: Connecting public residents to cessation services and support to help them quit tobacco use
• Communication Support: Helping HUD Explain the policy’s scientific/health rationale to public housing residents and staff
We look forward to the months ahead as we continue to work closely with tobacco control colleagues, public health partners, and sister federal agencies to make this landmark public health policy a successful reality.
For updated resources on implementation help: http://www.no-smoke.org/goingsmokefree.php?id=851
Looking to Rent?
Check out the latest Apartment Complexes to go Smokefree!
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Multi-Unit Housing: Property Managers
Smokefree Communities encourages all multi-unit housing complexes to adopt smokefree air lease language as part of the Tobacco Free Living campaign.
Tobacco Free Living is an initiative to inform property management companies of the benefits of voluntarily making their properties smoke-free. If you would like additional information including sample lease language, timelines for taking your property smokeree, sample compliance letters, smokefree signage, etc, please contact our office at 812-488-5000.
We encourage all property owners/managers to take our quick online survey. By taking the survey, you can also register your property to be included in our smokefree housing guide.
Click to take the survey:
Market Street Living
Market Street Living
How do I Enforce a No-Smoking Rule at my Rental Properties?
A no-smoking rule may be one of the most important things you can do to protect your property from damage, excessive cleaning, and fires. No-smoking rules also protect your tenants from secondhand smoke, a major health hazard, protecting you from potential legal liability.
No-smoking rules are entirely legal, even inside individual units. You can adopt a no-smoking rule following the same process as any other rule change, by adding it to your lease, amending your by-laws, changing your house rules and giving tenants adequate notice.
Now that you know the reasons for adopting a no-smoking rule, you may be wondering how to enforce it. Here is what other landlords and associations have done to enforce their new smoke-free policies:
-“We do an addendum to the lease and tenants have to sign it.”
“I have them sign something saying that if they smoke they are responsible for bringing it back to condition, including drapes, carpets. So, they’re on the hook for several thousand dollars. So far it’s been bulletproof.”
-“We give them a verbal warning, send in maintenance for a follow-up inspection, then a 10-day notice if they’re still doing it.”
-“Our policy is that we charge $250 on first offense. If they don’t pay, they get a notice to vacate. On the second offense, we fine them and ask them to leave.”
Whenever you change a house rule or modify your lease, you have to give tenants advance notice. But giving tenants notice is also very important because it will help you gain compliance with the policy. You might want to go “over and above” your normal procedures for announcing rule changes. A little bit of extra work at the beginning could help you avoid hassles later on.
Here are some things you can do to make sure everyone knows about the new rule:
• Hold a meeting
• Send memos to tenants
• Talk to individual tenants
• Post flyers in the halls
• Give tenants at least 30 days notice (60-90 is better)
• Tell prospective tenants about the rule
• Point out the rule when tenants sign or renew their lease
• Post signs in your building
A no-smoking rule will do lots of good things, but here are the top 3 reasons why it’s a good idea:
1. You will be safer from fires
2. The air will be healthier for everybody who lives here
3. There will be less damage to the units
Our no-smoking rule is not a ‘no-smoker rule.’ We understand this may be an inconvenience for you, and we appreciate your help in keeping our property clean and safe for ALL our tenants.
The Indiana Tobacco Quitline is a free service that can help you quit smoking: 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Facts about Smoking & Secondhand Smoke:
• Secondhand smoke has over 4000 chemicals, and at least 43 of them cause cancer. The chemicals include arsenic, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and benzene.
• Secondhand smoke is especially bad for children, the elderly, and people with health problems.
• Ventilation systems cannot remove the cancer-causing chemicals in secondhand smoke.
• Smoking is the number one cause of residential fire deaths.
• Smokers have been sued by neighbors who have been hurt by secondhand smoke.
• Market your building as non-smoking wherever you list vacancies
It will also be helpful to train your management staff on the new policy and make sure they understand it is a priority. You might consider creating a designated outdoor area for smoking if you think it would help with compliance. Just be sure to move receptacles for smoking materials a reasonable distance (10 feet as required by Evansville city ordinance) from building entrances, windows, and ventilation intakes, together with applicable signs.
Make sure that tenants know you will respond promptly to complaints about violations of the no-smoking rule. Let tenants know how to report a possible violation, and follow-up with a warning letter to the smoking tenant(s) and an inspection (following your normal procedures). During an inspection, you may be able to observe smoking, smell smoke odor, or see ashtrays or cigarette butts, but even if you don’t find any “evidence” you can still provide the tenant with a copy of the rule and a reminder that violations of the no-smoking rule can result in an eviction or fees. Sometimes the face-to-face contact is all that is needed for a tenant to take the rule seriously.
If tenants argue that they have the “right to smoke,” remember there is no right to smoke and it is not a disability. The law is on the side of landlords and nonsmoking tenants, not smokers. You have the legal right to create rules that protect your property from damage and fires. A no-smoking rule also protects your nonsmoking tenants from secondhand smoke, which protects you from potential liability. Non-smoking tenants have won a number of lawsuits against their landlord and/or the smoking tenants under legal theories such as Breach of Habitability, Breach of the Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment and Constructive Eviction.
If tenants fail to comply with the no-smoking rules in their units and common areas, they are in breach of the lease agreement, which could be grounds for eviction. Follow your normal procedures of inspections, warning letters, and evictions. Since non-smoking rentals are in such high demand, you should be able to fill vacancies quickly and easily.
Your property is an important investment. A no-smoking rule will protect your investment while providing tenants with a healthy living environment. If you have any questions or need more information, please contact us:
Model Smoke-Free Lease Addendum
Tenant and all members of Tenant's family or household are parties to a written lease with Landlord (the Lease). This Addendum states the following additional terms, conditions and rules which are hereby incorporated into the Lease. A breach of this Lease Addendum shall give each party all the rights contained herein, as well as the rights in the Lease.
1. Purpose of No-Smoking Policy. The parties desire to mitigate (i) the irritation and known health effects of secondhand smoke; (ii) the increased maintenance, cleaning, and redecorating costs from smoking; (iii) the increased risk of fire from smoking; and (iv) the higher costs of fire insurance for a non-smoke-free building;
2. Definition of Smoking. The term “smoking” means inhaling, exhaling, breathing, or carrying any lighted cigar, cigarette, or other tobacco product or similar lighted product in any manner or in any form.
3. Smoke-Free Complex. Tenant agrees and acknowledges that the premises to be occupied by Tenant and members of Tenant's household have been designated as a smoke-free living environment. Tenant and members of Tenant's household shall not smoke anywhere in the unit rented by Tenant, or the building where the Tenant's dwelling is located or in any of the common areas or adjoining grounds of such building or other parts of the rental community, nor shall Tenant permit any guests or visitors under the control of Tenant to do so.
4. Tenant to Promote No-Smoking Policy and to Alert Landlord of Violations. Tenant shall inform Tenant's guests of the no-smoking policy. Further, Tenant shall promptly give Landlord a written statement of any incident where tobacco smoke is migrating into the Tenant's unit from sources outside of the Tenant's apartment unit.
5. Landlord to Promote No-Smoking Policy. Landlord shall post no-smoking signs at entrances and exits, common areas, hallways, and in conspicuous places adjoining the grounds of the apartment complex.
6. Landlord Not a Guarantor of Smoke-Free Environment. Tenant acknowledges that Landlord's adoption of a smoke-free living environment, and the efforts to designate the rental complex as smoke-free, do not make the Landlord or any of its managing agents the guarantor of Tenant's health or of the smoke-free condition of the Tenant's unit and the common areas. However, Landlord shall take reasonable steps to enforce the smokefree terms of its leases and to make the complex smoke-free. Landlord is not required to take steps in response to smoking unless Landlord knows of said smoking or has been given written notice of said smoking.
7. Other Tenants are Third-Party Beneficiaries of Tenant's Agreement. Tenant agrees that the other Tenants at the complex are the third-party beneficiaries of Tenant's smokefree addendum agreements with Landlord. (In layman's terms, this means that Tenant's commitments in this Addendum are made to the other Tenants as well as to Landlord.) A Tenant may sue another Tenant for an injunction to prohibit smoking or for damages, but does not have the right to evict another Tenant. Any suit between Tenants herein shall not create a presumption that the Landlord breached this Addendum.
8. Effect of Breach and Right to Terminate Lease. A breach of this Lease Addendum shall give each party all the rights contained herein, as well as the rights in the Lease. A material breach of this Addendum shall be a material breach of the lease and grounds for immediate termination of the Lease by the Landlord.
9. Disclaimer by Landlord. Tenant acknowledges that Landlord's adoption of a smokefree living environment, and the efforts to designate the rental complex as smoke-free, does not in any way change the standard of care that the Landlord or managing agent would have to a Tenant household to render buildings and premises designated as smokefree any safer, more habitable, or improved in terms of air quality standards than any other rental premises. Landlord specifically disclaims any implied or express warranties that the building, common areas, or Tenant's premises will have any higher or improved air quality standards than any other rental property. Landlord cannot and does not warranty or promise that the rental premises or common areas will be free from secondhand smoke. Tenant acknowledges that Landlord's ability to police, monitor, or enforce the agreements of this Addendum is dependent in significant part on voluntary compliance by Tenant and Tenant’s guests. Tenants with respiratory ailments, allergies, or any other physical or mental condition relating to smoke are put on notice that Landlord does not assume any higher duty of care to enforce this Addendum than any other landlord obligation under the Lease.