Not too long ago, in December 2016, the department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD, instituted a new law requiring properties that cater to low-income tenants and public housing to be smoke-free by July 2018. This new law requires that prohibited tobacco products, such as cigarettes, be banned from rental units and shared areas. Tenants who wish to smoke must be more than 25 feet from the building. This law only applies to public housing; however, private rental companies and landlords are considering implementing these rules as well.
Smoke Damage to Properties
Smoking inside of a home can decrease the value by up to 29%. The chemicals in nicotine stain walls, ceilings, floors, and the smell clings to everything–even furniture. This residue left over from cigarette smoke is sometimes referred to as third-hand smoke. Real estate agents know it is more difficult to sell a home that has been smoked in and many prospective home buyers won’t buy a home that has been smoked in so why would a renter want to live somewhere that has smoke damage?
How to Transition Tenants
If you have long-term tenants that have smoked in their rental homes for a long time, they may be extremely resistant to change. New tenants may feel as though the rules are changing soon after they got there. There are a few ways a property manager can go about implements smoke free policies.
If you are managing a property that the new law applies to, well, you have the law on your side and your tenants should realize this isn’t a policy that was up to you. If you are a property manager that is not affected by the law, but still wish to implement the new policies you will have to tread more carefully. Most of the time it is wise to implement the policy unit by unit as leases are being renewed. Make sure to give tenants ample notice of the policy changing so that they can start looking for a new place to live if they can’t live with a smoke-free policy.