How to implement a Smoke-Free Policy
Once you decide that a smoke-free policy is a smart business move take the time to make sure you know how to implement your policy. You may want to consult with your attorney on some matters to ensure you are following the Landlord Tenant Law. Tobacco Free Allegheny can also be a resource and help walk you through the process of implementing a smoke-free policy. As every situation and property is unique there may be some differences in how property managers and landlords go about creating smoke-free policies. Below are some general guidelines and resources.
Option 1: Choose a date to go smoke-free (usually best to have a couple months notice.)
- Follow the Landlord - Tenant law.
- Give advanced notice that a smoke-free policy will be put in place. Make sure to include the definition of what a "smoke-free" policy will include. For example, no-smoking in units, laundry room or common spaces. Smoking will only be allowed outdoors, 25 feet from any doors and windows.
- Have residents agree to the changes in writing.
Option 2: The Phase-in method
- Follow the Landlord-Tenant law.
- Include the smoke-free policy in the lease for all new tenants.
- Notify current tenants of the policy and that when each lease is renewed it will include a smoke-free policy.
Writing the Policy
A good smoke-free policy should be comprehensive and include:
- Places smoking will not be allowed and where it is allowed.
- State who the policy applies to.
- State the date the policy goes in to effect.
- Defines "smoking."
- States the enforcement policy.
There are several resources available to help guide you as you write and implement your smoke-free policy. Check out some of these federal and state sites for sample policies, tenant letters and lease addendums.
Enforcing the Policy
Treat smoking like any other lease violation.
All tenants sign a contract and agree to house rules. Respond to smoking violations as you would any other lease violation. Do you give a warning for the first offense when there is a pet complaint or an issue with noise? The important thing is to spell out the enforcement procedure in the policy and then be consistent, fair and respond to violations in a timely manner.
Remember you aren't telling people to quit smoking.
You have the right to protect your property from damage and the risk of fire. The purpose of the policy is to protect your property and all tenants from exposure to secondhand smoke.
Promote your new Smoke-Free Status
Post signs around the property in visible locations to help remind tenants, guests, employees, and contacted workers that your property is smoke-free. When listing your property remember to advertise this desirable amenity!