What landlords and tenants are saying about smoke-free housing…


“I went to a resident meeting prepared with facts, figures and statistics – ready for anything – except for the reaction we received. 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 WNY (Buffalo, NY)

“As the owner of Annandale Mansion and multiple residential units within Saratoga Springs, it became clear years ago that people who sought housing preferred their dwelling and surrounding apartments to be smoke-free. The absence of people smoking provided a cleaner, safer and more pleasant environment for all. As an owner and the person responsible for the upkeep and maintenance, I benefit immensely because a smoke-free building is always cleaner, fresher and easier to transition between tenants. Also, I have found that I have gained rather than lost prospective tenants based on this designation.”

Al Miller, Landlord (Saratoga Springs, NY)

“Albany Management took the steps we did toward supporting a smoke free community because we listened to our residents and prospects interested in our communities. Some residents were concerned about secondhand smoke while others just simply wanted to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. All of our smoke free buildings are currently 100% occupied and we are planning to provide more smoke free apartment homes in the future. It truly is a win-win for everybody.”

Lori Crisafulli, Albany Management (Albany, NY)

“Since the commencement of our smoke-free policy, residents have been pleased with the fact that they now enjoy a healthier environment.  Smoke no longer pervades first floor apartments from the outside and smokers’ neighboring apartments are no longer affected.  This policy was put into place without overlooking the needs of residents when it came to smoking cessation guidance and programs.  We thank the Tobacco Action Coalition of Long Island for their assistance with navigating these issues for our residents.”

Janice Sotero, Executive Director, Village of Great Neck Housing Authority

“Our no-smoking policy is the best thing that ever happened to us.  What I feared would lead to confrontation has actually opened up dialogue and brought the residents together.  The nonsmokers are thrilled that they no longer have to endure the smoke in silence and are thanking smokers for their efforts to comply with the policy.   The smokers appreciate being recognized for their efforts and are grateful for the added incentive to quit.  We credit the Capital District Tobacco-Free Coalition for urging us to tackle this policy which seemed so daunting at first, giving us the confidence to implement it successfully and helping us to realize our mission of improving the lives of our residents. ”

Dina Puente, Property Manager, Schenectady Municipal Housing Authority

“Having had a fire started by a cigarette, the increased level of fire safety is comforting to the staff and residents.”

David K. Aldrich, Executive Director, Harrietown Housing Authority

“A few of my tenants have commented on how comfortable their building is to live in. I believe that the smoke free environment along with the lack of garbage generated from cigarette litter is a strong contributor to the overall comfort of the apartments. Because no smoking is allowed inside the building, my tenants do not have to contend with the smell or the health hazards associated with secondhand smoke. Additionally, it’s much easier to rent apartments in non-smoking buildings because it appeals to more of the general public.

From the standpoint of cost and maintenance, when a tenant leaves it is much less expensive and time-consuming to prep the apartment for the next tenant. If there was a smoker living in the apartment, 100 percent of the time the walls and ceiling must be painted, sometimes with an oil-based sealer/primer before the topcoat can be applied. Smoke free buildings are most definitely less costly to maintain and healthier for the workers and building occupants.”

Steve Lysczek, President, Distinctive Homes (Binghamton, NY)

“We have seniors and disabled people living here and we know that it’s a healthier environment for them since we went smoke-free. I’ve had nothing but positive feedback from our residents. Even the people who smoke are happy with the new policy.”

Marsha Alia, Rivertown Senior Housing (Athens, NY)

“As a medical center that serves and promotes the health of our northern Manhattan communities, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is proud to champion smoke-free environments in our housing portfolio. For example, our residential building at 1214 5th Avenue was among the first smoke-free rental apartment complexes in New York. As an institution, our housing policies maintain that a smoke-free environment is imperative to protecting the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and guests , and has the added benefit of helping to create a healthier and safer environment for our community’s residents. Mount Sinai is proud to remain among the city’s leaders in this effort.”

Thomas C. Ahn, Vice President, Mount Sinai Real Estate (New York City)

“Several of my residents have chosen Graystone because it is a smoke-free community. Some of these residents have allergies, others just like knowing that they will not be in an apartment that someone smoked in prior or will have to smell cigarette smoke from a neighboring apartment. I have actually had someone rent that was a smoker, but this gave them that extra incentive to quit.   Our apartments are clean and fresh and there will never be that residual of smoke after a smoker moves out. I think that having a smoke free community has been a benefit for all- the resident and the property owner. “

Cheryl McNamara, Graystone Apartments (Schenectady, NY)

“We realized we were spending extra time and money on an apartment turnover when the previous tenant was a smoker… At times the walls needed to be washed before we could paint 2 coats to cover the yellowing from smoke. On one occasion we were unable to get the smell of cigarette smoke out of the refrigerator and had to dispose of it… We now have a non-smoking policy in our lease and had present tenants sign a rider both stating there is no smoking in any part of our building. The tenants we have that are smokers have cooperated and really do smoke outside (even through the winter months). This policy has made our apartments easier to rent now that we can tell possible tenants that our apartments are a smoke free environment.”

Robert Rigano, Rigano Restorations (Saratoga Springs, NY)

“We want the environment at The Conservatory to be as healthy, clean and safe as possible. When we asked our tenants if they would support us making The Conservatory smoke-free, they unanimously and enthusiastically affirmed our position. Being smoke-free has become one of the apartments’ amenities and has enhanced our leasing success.”

Deane S. Pfeil, J.W. Pfeil & Company, Inc. (Troy, NY)

“We have had nothing but positive feedback from residents and others after we designated two of our buildings as smoke-free. In the future, we hope to designate all 13 remaining buildings with that status.”

Dan Hitchcock, Hudson Terrace Apartments (Hudson, NY)

“We are very proud to say that we own smoke-free buildings. The apartments are easier to clean once they are vacated, there are no more cigarette burns on the property, the air is cleaner and it is much more appealing to a non-smoker. In the short and long run we are saving money and feel that our apartments are easier to rent without the smell of smoke.”

Beth Ann & Bill Hughes, Troy Raven, LLC (Troy, NY)

“One month after designating two of our apartment buildings at Parkwood Village as smoke free, they were 100% occupied. Non smokers love to have the option of living smoke free and appreciate having neighbors that also value clean air.”

Emily Modan, Parkwood Village (Albany, NY)

“Our choice to go smoke-free has been a benefit for all; several tenants have quit smoking as a result. And our non-smoking tenants are happy they can move about the property without coming into contact with second-hand smoke.”

Penny Rudinger, Lexington Property Management (Greenwich, NY)

“I have found that people looking for an apartment are now asking for a smoke-free policy. They like knowing that their apartment and common areas will be neat, clean and fresh. Having new residents sign a contract gives them the reassurance as well knowing that guests and visitors are held to the same policy. Residents have complied completely and the policy has been extremely helpful.”

Kelly Johns, The Glen at Sugar Hill (Brunswick, NY)

“The success of our first completely smoke-free community, The Glen at Sugar Hill, has encouraged us to continue offering smoke-free options for our residents. We are in the process of constructing The Woods Apartments that will consist of five smoke free apartment buildings, totaling 84 apartments. Our prospects and residents have shown an increased interest in smoke free living and we are happy to provide them with a healthy and clean place to live.”

Julie Massry Knox, Tri City Rentals (Albany, NY)

“I own a three-unit row house in the historic Mansion Neighborhood of Albany which has been smoke-free for a little over four years now … I see the benefits of that decision…There are no more cigarette butts scattered around the stairs and walkway outside. Turning over a unit was much easier — windows were much easier to clean, ceiling fans and window blinds were simply dusty and not covered in smoke film, the carpets were undamaged from burns and simple to clean, and I didn’t have to repaint the entire apartment.

People don’t realize it, but that smoke film is on EVERYTHING. I can’t think of one disadvantage to my decision to have a smoke-free building. Not one. Best of all, enforcement hasn’t been a problem at all. I haven’t had one complaint and I haven’t found one instance of smoking in my building since instituting the policy.”
Robert McRae, Landlord (Albany, NY)

“Being an ex-smoker who feels healthier, I wanted to do what I can as a manager to protect my maintenance staff and to give my disabled residents and their young children a place to live without being exposed to secondhand smoke. I believe going smoke-free will be better for everyone. A bonus is that I will save money and time when turning over an apartment that has been smoked in. Those costs are significant, especially in this economy.”

Richard Bowman, Greenbush Village Apartments (Rensselaer, NY)

“I used to be in Apartment Property Management for nearly 20 years prior to my brokerage career. I created a non-smoking building in the mid-90’s for a new community that had a couple of buildings with lousy views. They filled up immediately upon the non-smoking designation.”

Jay Verro, CCIM Multi Family & Investment Specialist (Albany, NY)

“Oak Brook Commons is pleased to offer a safer and healthier environment for our residents and guests.”

Chuck Hoffman, Oak Brook Commons (Clifton Park, NY)

“My husband suffered a long and horrible battle with emphysema. As a result of smoking, he also developed an autoimmune rare disease -polymyositis- followed by congestive heart disease and then death. After watching him slowly die for years, and at the end trying desperately to complete each breath, I thought I would not allow students in my rentals to inflict this on themselves. For the past 5 years, I have not allowed smoking in my rentals. It is working very well. “

Angela Thurlow, Student Housing Landlord, (Cortland, NY)


“Zeckendorf Towers has always been at the forefront of real estate innovation in New York City, and we’re proud to be leading the way once again on another step forward that will improve the quality of life for our neighbors and our community. We hope that our example will inspire other buildings throughout the city to go smoke-free and improve the health of our city.”

Pete Ellis, Homeowners Board President, Zeckendorf Towers (NYC)

“I am thrilled that such a large majority of my neighbors voted to make our building a healthier, safer, and more pleasant place to live. It feels great to know that I can sit in my living room and sleep in my bedroom with clean air again. Just like smokers have the right to smoke, non-smokers have the right to not inhale their smoke. Smokers can still be free to smoke but now they have to be a bit more concerned about where they do it. It feels great to sit in my living room and sleep in my bedroom with clean air again.”

Andrea York, a homeowner, Zeckendorf Towers (NYC)

“As landlords and co-op managers we have a responsibility to protect all tenants from these dangerous toxins… Now our grounds are litter free and drifting smoke in our buildings has been addressed.”

Estelle and Emanuel Scarpinato, Ormond Park Realty (Rockville Centre, NY)

“Living in a smoke-free co-op means that, no matter who moves in, you will never have to deal with a secondhand smoke problem in your home, and that’s a great feeling!”

Laura Cadorette, Board Member, 177-23rd Street Co-op Association in Jackson Heights, Queens


“With the mounting evidence related to the harms of secondhand smoke, it is nice to know I can come home to a smoke free house.”

Cristina Hoffman, Cortland, NY resident

“I am a non-smoker and I don’t want to breathe secondhand smoke. Before our building went smoke-free, all the halls and elevators smelled of smoke. It has given me more control over my own health.”

Myrtle Woodford, Wells Apartments (Binghamton, NY)

“I’m so happy my landlord adopted a tobacco-free housing policy. I used to live in buildings where other tenants smoked, and the smoke would come through the walls and contaminate everything. It’s great to live in a building where that’s not allowed.”

Mary Carney, Syracuse, NY resident