Be compliant with legal requirements for providing adequate notice to tenants. Provide at least 30 days notice before the end of a lease (60 days for Section 8). See a sample Notice of Rule Change.
As you develop your policy, educate residents about the decision to go smoke free. Conduct a survey to listen to the concerns of your residents. Some residents may not like the idea of going smoke free, but they will appreciate the chance to voice their concerns.
Use multiples forms of communication to share information about the new policy:
a letter or email notifying them of the upcoming change (if all tenants have email addresses)
Train staff about the policy change and how it affects their responsibilities.*
Advertise your residential listings as smoke free. Smoke free housing is popular and may attract even more attention to your property. When showing a unit to a potential renter, explain the property's smoke free policy.
Include information about the smoke-free policy on all housing applications.
Tell everyone who enters the building about the smoke free policy. Post signs within the building letting potential tenants and other visitors know that the property is smoke-free (order free signs).
Implement a smoke-free policy the same way as any other lease of lease modification.
Choose an effective date and before that date, develop a no-smoking lease addendum. The addendum should include the policy's effective date.
Provide existing residents with a copy of the no-smoking lease addendum before their leases renew. Tell them it will become part of their lease.
If you have concerns about tenants who may have difficulty going outside to smoke, consider moving them to a vacant unit on the first floor or closer to an exit or elevator to make getting outside easier.
Provide new tenants with a lease or the lease addendum, that includes the property's smoke-free policy.
Maintaining a smoke free environment
Tenants need to understand the smoke free policy to maintain smoke free housing. Tenants should also understand the consequences of ignoring the smoke free policy. Respond to smoke free policy violations the same way you treat other lease violations (e.g., noise, late rent, etc.).
Also, make sure the property looks and smells smoke free:
Keep smoke-free signs posted and easy to read
Replace signs if necessary
Clean up cigarette butts
Inspect the building or property regularly to look and smell for signs of smoking. Consider frequent inspections during the first year to ensure resident compliance
Free resources and help
For more information, download A Landlord's Guide to Smoke-Free Housing.
Find sample documents you can adapt and use.
* Free resources and help
If you are thinking about making your property smoke free, BPHC can help. BPHC offers free support with smoke free housing, including:
Answering questions and troubleshooting by phone any issues related to smoke free housing
Conducting trainings for building staff
Attending resident meetings and speaking about health consequences of secondhand smoke exposure
The information on this page is provided for educational purposes only and is not to be taken as legal opinion or as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney. Readers with questions about the application of the law to specific facts are encouraged to consult an attorney.