It seems like every few months we come across a story about the controversy that surrounds a person’s right to smoke in their apartment versus the rights of other residents to have a smoke free apartment.
Certainly an apartment owner has the right to ban smoking in their building and many are choosing to do so in order to command higher rents. The question is whether a local city government should impose restrictions on multifamily properties.
(photo courtesy of Mia Mabanta)
Over the past year we have seen some smaller California towns prohibit smoking in multifamily properties; Belmont banned all smoking from all multifamily properties, Dublin courts granted a restraining order to one couple to keep a smoking neighbor away and Oxnard required that senior public housing be made smoke-free.
Now, apartments in Tacoma, Washington may soon face similar restrictions. A study by the Human Rights and Human Services Department was presented to the city council’s Neighborhoods and Housing Committee last month, which highlighted the fact that secondhand smoke is the third-leading preventable cause of death in the U.S.
Although the officials made no specific recommendations and council members took no actions, the report seems to have focused on multifamily apartments as a target area; prohibiting smoking in apartments would be one of the most effective ways to curb exposure to secondhand smoke.
The report laid out different options for the city, from an outright ban of smoking in all multifamily properties to keeping a percentage of units in each building smoke free. The report acknowledged that the most difficult part of any ban would be enforcement, and offered incentive programs to landlords who would take on the responsibility of enacting and enforcing any legal actions.
About a year ago, we wrote about how many apartment owners were opting to keep their apartments smoke free. Have property managers or renters witnessed that trend continue?