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Smoke Free Buildings

HUD announces no smoking rule for public housing

HUD guide for converting to smoke free buildings

Can the landlord stop you from smoking in your rental
unit?  The quick answer is YES
A landlord may put a no smoking rule in the rental agreement.  smoking is not a protected activity under state or Federal Fair Housing Laws or the US Constitution.

Over the past year, US Department of Housing and Urban Development has bee advising public housing authorities that they have the right to ban smoking and offering model provisions.  The latest HUD guidance is attached at the bottom of this page.

It's happening all the time!
  • Anti-smoking efforts are hitting smokers where they live. At least two major central Ohio apartment companies are implementing smoke-free policies this year, and more are expected to follow suit.
  • Public Housing Authorities in Ohio which are banning smoking in their units.
  • Lucas Metro Makes 7 Properties SMOKE FREE This week  Seven public housing complexes managed by the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority will make their smoke-free debuts on Wednesday. The tobacco-free policy adopted by the housing authority’s board of directors in June follows a recommendation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development urging public housing authorities as well as the owners and managers of multifamily housing rental assistance programs to prohibit smoking in their properties, said Ivory Mathews, LMHA executive deputy director. Read the story
National Healthy Homes Standard
7.8.1. Smoking shall be prohibited in all indoor common areas of multifamily buildings.
7.8.2. Smoking shall be prohibited in exterior areas less than 25 feet (762 cm) from building entrances, outdoor air intakes, and operable windows.
7.8.3. Tenants and prospective tenants shall be informed in writing of any applicable smoke-free policy and the location of designated smoke-free and smoking areas. Signs shall be posted in all designated areas.
7.8.4. Tenants who terminate a lease early due to incursion of tobacco smoke or the inception of a smoke-free policy shall be exempt from early termination penalties or security deposit forfeiture.
Stretch Provisions:
A property-wide policy shall be established in consultation with current tenants to designate exterior common areas where smoking shall be prohibited and areas where smoking shall be permitted.
A property-wide policy shall be established in consultation with current tenants to designate dwelling units where tobacco smoking shall be prohibited.
Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and approximately 70 carcinogens, such as arsenic, formaldehyde, benzene, and vinyl chloride. After smoking and radon, secondhand smoke exposure is the third-leading cause of lung cancer death. Secondhand smoke (SHS) also causes numerous health problems in infants and children, including asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In addition, tobacco smoking is the leading cause of fatal residential fires in the U.S. The U.S. Surgeon General has concluded that there is no safe level of exposure to SHS. Also, experts have concluded that the only way to effectively prevent the migration of SHS from the units of smokers to common areas and the units of nonsmokers is to prohibit all smoking within the building. A study in the United Arab Emirates found that incense smoke emits carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, formaldehyde and carbonyls, and that incense smoke exposure causes significant lung cell inflammation. Studies show that thirdhand smoke clings to hair, skin, clothes, furniture, drapes, walls, bedding, carpets, dust, vehicles, and other surfaces, even long after smoking has stopped. Infants, children, and nonsmoking adults may be at risk of tobacco-related health problems when they inhale, ingest, or touch substances containing thirdhand smoke. Thirdhand smoke is a relatively new concept, and researchers are still studying its possible dangers.

What's News?
 January 11, 2016 Proposed no smoking ban in public housing. Is anyone paying attention?
Marketplace reports "The Department of Housing and Urban Development is proposing a smoking ban in the one-point-two million units of public housing it oversees. But this isn't just a ban on smoking in public areas. It would extend to the inside of people's apartments, too." Still, there doesn't not seem to be much local reaction. Privately RHINO hears that Housing Authorities are not happy and dont think the new rule is enforceable. What about where you live and work?                                               

11/12/15 HUD announces Smoke Free Public Housing

Who's making the case for SFMF?

    More and more local health departments are encouraging multifamily owners to become "smoke free" throughout their properties.  Smokers who believe that their habit is a civil right are shocked to learn they have no legal protection in Ohio against smoking bans in private property. 

    RHINO has issued a set of recommendations about smoke free multifamily conversion which emphasize protecting tenants from arbitrary treatment.  After all smoking is legal. 

    The new National Healthy Homes Standard also offers some guidance to property owners who are considering conversion and HUD has joined the chorus with a new guide to converting Federally subsidized properties to smoke free. 
Sometimes tenants' options seem to be “if you don't like it, move”.
RHINO has reached out to the Healthy Homes community for ideas about how to help owner/managers make the transition to a smoke free building. One response so far is: “many efforts to mandate smoke-free housing are too new to know all the implementation and enforcement issues. “ Who knows? Maybe your suggestions will help everyone create uniform and responsible policies? What choices would you like to have when your building goes smoke free? Send your suggestions to RHINO will share your ideas...but not your ID.

Notes & Links

Allen County Activate (guides for landlords and tenants)

RHINO recommendations

Subpages (1): RHINO recommends