Smoke-free housing is a growing trend in multi-family housing. According to the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), approximately 86% of residents in Sarpy and Cass County do not allow smoking inside their home.
Areas of multi-family housing units should already be smoke-free:
- Entry or exit areas
- Laundry rooms
- Common traffic areas
- Lobby areas
- Indoor swimming pools
- Recreational rooms
Benefits of smoke-free housing
- Smoke-free policies can save money. Tobacco smoke causes a tremendous amount of damage to the inside of an apartment. The cost of rehabilitating a smoke-free unit can be up to seven times less than that of a smoking unit.
- A smoke-free policy protects the health of tenants and employees.
- Renters prefer smoke-free housing. According to a survey of Douglas County residents, more than 70% of renters are likely to choose non-smoking housing over a similar option that allows smoking.
- Smoke-free policies reduce the risk of smoking-related fires.
Property Owner Rights
- It is legal for apartment managers/owners to designate common areas, certain apartments or all of the apartments in a building as smoke-free.
- People who smoke are not protected under state and national anti-discrimination laws.
- Property owners have the legal right to restrict or prohibit smoking in their building(s), just as they are free to prohibit pets.
- Tenants who suffer from asthma or other respiratory diseases can take legal action against a property owner who does not take adequate measures to protect those residents from secondhand smoke.
Making a Smoke-Free Change
- Survey your tenants.
- Set a time frame for the change.
- Educate tenants of change and cessation services.
- Introduce new leases or addendums.
- Post signs.
TFS is gathering information from multi-family housing property owners/managers in Sarpy County. If you are a property owner/manager please take a few minutes to complete this short survey. If you have questions about the survey, please call (402) 593-3022.
Interested in making your property tobacco-free? Contact TFS for your free tool kit!