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Affordable & Public Housing
Increasingly, landlords throughout New York are adopting no-smoking policies and realizing the benefits. According to a community survey of property owners in 6 upstate NY counties, 97% of landlords who have a no-smoking policy are satisfied with their decision. It’s clear why. No-smoking policies attract tenants, minimize maintenance costs, reduce fire risks and decrease the potential for legal liability due to non-smoking tenants’ exposure to secondhand smoke.
A no-smoking policy does not exclude smokers; it protects the health of all residents from harmful secondhand smoke. Just as you can restrict loud noise in your rentals, you can also have a no-smoking rule for individual units, common areas and even outdoors. A no-smoking policy requires smokers to smoke outdoors in areas specified in the lease.
Below you will find a New York State Landlord Toolkit which includes tips for implementation and enforcement as well as sample leases, surveys and tenant communications to help you successfully go smoke-free. You can also contact your local Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities partner for free policy assistance and signage.
As of July 31, 2018, the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) prohibits the use of cigarettes, cigars and pipes in all public housing units and common areas, as well as any outdoor areas up to 25 feet from buildings. Even before the HUD rule, more than 700 public housing authorities throughout the country and more than half in New York had gone smoke-free. For guidance on implementing a smoke-free policy in public housing, contact a community partner in your county for free assistance. You can also visit HUD’s site for a Guidebook and an Action Guide. A recently released video highlighting the New York City Housing Authority’s implementation of its smoke-free policy is also helpful for understanding the process of going smoke-free.
“When we made the ‘official’ announcement that the property would be smoke free on January 1, the residents applauded. And that reaction was repeated at the next property and at the next property. We were giving the residents what they wanted.”
-Pamela Berger, Belmont Housing Resources for Western New York (Buffalo, NY)
“As our survey showed that over 95% of our residents wanted a smoke-free building, we knew it would provide a safe environment for our residents and employees. The policy was quick and painless to adopt!”
-Anthony Fiala, SEPP Management Company (Binghamton, NY)
“One month after designating two of our apartment buildings at Parkwood Village as smoke free, they were 100% occupied.”
-Emily Modan, Parkwood Village