Owners & Managers

Secondhand smoke is more than a nuisance; it is a health hazard that costs you money and hurts your business. A no-smoking policy establishes your property on the front end of a growing housing trend, positions your units to fill a market niche, and saves time and money

Join the Growing Number of Housing Providers with No-Smoking Policies

Download 9 Benefits of No-Smoking Policies infographic to see how going no-smoking can benefit your property. Click here for a step-by-step guide to help you adopt a no-smoking policy.

Jefferson County & Colorado Housing Trend

More properties in Jeffco and across Colorado are becoming no-smoking. More than 2,800 multi-unit residential buildings have 100% no-smoking policies that cover all indoor areas and units. The growing list of properties is updated at www.MySmokeFreeHousing.com

Why Should You Consider a No-Smoking Policy?
  • It’s legal and enforceable.
  • You save money.
  • Meet growing market demand for nonsmoking properties.
  • Happy residents stay longer.
We Can Help!

Jefferson County Public Health’s Tobacco Prevention Initiative is tasked with providing assistance to owners and managers who want to transition to no-smoking. Contact tobaccofree@jeffco.us or call 303-275-7555 to learn more about how we can help your property. Section 8 and low-income properties are especially encouraged to take advantage of our many free resources.

Save Time and Money

Reduce the costs of cleaning and repairing carpets, energy consumption, and general maintenance. Average cleaning costs can be five times greater in smoking units vs. nonsmoking units. Costs to operate heating and AC equipment cost less also, saving you money. No-smoking policies help housing stay affordable and saves management time and money.

Watch The Costs of Allowing Smoking in an Apartment Building for insights from other owners and managers

Meet Growing Market Demand

Most residents, including low-income and minority populations, do not smoke in their homes and would prefer to live in a a nonsmoking building. Younger generations, which are a large proportion of the renting population in Colorado (42% of renters are under 35), have higher expectations for a smoke-free environment. One survey found that 81% of prospective residents  were immediately less interested if they smelled smoke in an apartment.

This is a generation that has grown up in an era when smoking restrictions are commonplace compared to people who are old enough to recall smoking sections on airplanes, in restaurants, and in the workplace.

Cleaner Air Helps you Fill Market Niche

More than half of the air can recirculate between homes in multiunit housing, so its not surprising that 87% of Coloradans have no-smoking rules for their homes to prevent exposure to secondhand smoke. However, less than 2% of apartment buildings in Jefferson County, CO are registered as smoke-free on MySmokeFreeHousing.com.  No-smoking policies in your building can better position your property to fill this market niche.

Help Smokers Quit

Most smokers want to quit and no-smoking policies help them move in that direction. Studies of no-smoking policies in Oregon showed that after their policy went into effect 43% were smoking less, half had tried to quit, and 60% cited the no-smoking policy as the main reason.

We can  provide your residents with educational materials and cessation resources to help them quit. Free nicotine patches and counseling are also available from the Colorado QuitLine or by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Reduce Legal Liability & Fire Danger

Apartment owners may be more liable by allowing smoking than by restricting it, especially if exposure to smoke impact breathing- an activity protected by the Fair Housing Act. Smoking is not protected by the US Constitution, so no-smoking policies do not infringe on the rights of individuals.

Cigarette smoking is a leading cause of fires in multiunit buildings. No-smoking policies reduce fires and may even reduce your insurance premiums.

Prohibit Marijuana and Vaporizers

No smoking policies can include marijuana and vaporizers (such as hookah pens, electronic cigarettes, and e-cigars) in addition to prohibiting use of tobacco products in private units and public areas. It is also legal and permissible to prohibit medical marijuana provided it is included in a comprehensive no-smoking policy.

Policy Adoption TimelinePolicy-Adoption-Timeline-5.19.14

We have provided a step-by-step guide to help owners and managers through the steps leading up to smoke-free policy adoption.

Essential Policy Elements

An effective no-smoking policy should contain :

  1. The purpose of the policy and information about the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure
  2. Clear, consistent definitions of important terms (such as “smoking,” “premises,” and “common area”)
  3. List of areas that must be no-smoking
  4. Description of who must comply (such as residents, guests, and visitors)
  5. Disclaimer that the owner is not acting as a guarantor of the policy to protect against claims
  6. Provision for resident complaints
  7. Information on enforcement, warnings, and responsibilities of owners and residents
  8. Signature of the resident
Build Resident Support

Learn about residents’ experiences with a survey about their secondhand smoke exposure on the property and interest in living in a no-smoking building. Sample resident survey language is available here.

Offer support for residents who smoke. Many cessation resources are available on our Thinking of Quitting page, but you can also direct residents to the Colorado QuitLine for free counseling and nicotine patches.

Announce and Promote the Policy

There are many ways to notify residents of reasons you are adopting a no-smoking policy: including articles in your building newsletter, holding resident meetings, sending a letter to residents, posting signage, and supplying educational information about the harms of secondhand smoke.

Post signs, flyers, and banners to remind residents of the new policy and effect date. Free signage may be available to Jefferson County properties upon request.

List your property for free on www.MySmokeFreeHousing.com

Put it in Writing

Find below samples of model language from a variety of sources. Select the one that best suits your property and/or customize the language to fit your needs. Good lease language & communication of the consequences of policy violations is crucial for success.

Make it clear that residents, household members, or visitors may not smoke inside their units, common areas, balconies, patios, or within 25 feet of any building on the property. 

No-Smoking Lease Language

California Smoke-Free Lease Addendum

GASP Sample Lease with Penalties

Smoke-Free Minnesota Lease Addendum

Notification Letter Language

SmokeFree Minnesota Tenant Notification

Public Health Advocacy Institute Letter

Warning Letter & Infraction Notice Language

Smoke-Free Maine Recommendations & Infraction Notice

Smoke-Free Oregon Toolkit & Warning Letters

Smoke-Free Central Minnesota Infraction Notice

Many owners and managers are concerned about how to enforce a no-smoking policy.

“Enforcement is generally not a problem and few owners experience backlash from residents after implementing a no-smoking policy. –UNITS December 2007, a publication of the National Apartment Association

Remember, a no-smoking policy is no different than a no-pets or other lease prohibition. Rental agreements and lease language should clearly state the policy for the building, units, balconies, and common areas. Post signs in and around the property to help remind residents and visitors of the policy. Outdoor designated smoking areas should be clearly marked and at least 25 feet away from windows, doors, or any part of the building.

Residents can be your best allies.

If a resident complains, document the facts and resolve the matter. A Secondhand Smoke Communication Record may help you and your residents document smoke intrusion and steps taken to resolve the problem.

Prompt, consistent action will send a clear message.

Lack of enforcement with one resident will make it difficult to enforce with others.  Set up an enforcement protocol with staff and maintenance personnel and stick to it.

Enforcement Tools
No-Smoking Policies Free you of Legal and Administrative Concerns
  • Spend less time dealing with smoking-related complaints
  • Spend less time and money dealing with secondhand smoke related reasonable accommodation requests
  • Owners who continue to allow smoking on their property face potential lawsuits from residents exposed to secondhand smoke
  • State courts have rules against apartment owners under various legal theories, including breach of warranty of habitability, private nuisance, breach of covenant of quiet enjoyment, and constructive eviction
Legal Concerns

The National Multi-Unit Housing Council has warned it members:

“Courts have held that an apartment resident with severe breathing difficulty that is exacerbated by secondhand smoke may actually be entitled to a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act. In contrast to conventional wisdom, apartment owners may be held more legally liable by allowing smoking than by restricting it. Residents have become more knowledgeable about the risks of secondhand smoke and savvier about pursuing legal options to pursue their health. State courts have ruled against apartment owners and have ordered significant rent reductions and other penalties under the nuisance, warranty of habitability, and quiet enjoyment theories of law. — From Secondhand Smoke Seepage into Multi-Unit Affordable Housing

For a more detailed summary of the legal issues around allowing smoking on your property, please review Regulating Smoking in Multi-Unit Housing by the Tobacco Legal Consortium and consult your attorney.

Consider Mediation to Resolve Disputes

A mediator acts as an impartial party to help the disputing parties negotiate a mutually beneficial resolution based on their specific situation. Professional mediators may be for-profit, for-hire or they may be offering their services for free. There are a number of complimentary community-based mediation services across the state. In Colorado, visit the website of the Mediation Association of Colorado and click on “find a mediator.”

Public and Subsidized Housing

Public housing authorities, also known as community development authorities or housing and redevelopment authorities, are leading the way in the adoption of smoke-free policies for multi-unit properties. Hundreds of public housing authorities across the country have adopted some form of smoking restricted policy. The Smoke Free Environments Law Project at the Center for Social Gerontology maintains a listing of the housing authorities with policies in the section on Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) and Apartments on their website. –From Public Health Law Center

“Based on extensive research of federal and state law and cases nationwide, we conclude unequivocally that a ban on smoking for new tenants who move into public or section 8 housing is permissible in all 50 states. Analysis of the Authority of Housing Authorities and Section 8 Multiunit  Housing Owners to Adopt Smoke-Free Policies in their Residential Units

HUD Approves

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) strongly encourages  no-smoking policies in their multiunit and multi-family properties. See HUD notices Public and Indian Housing Smoke-Free Notice PIH-2012-25 & Office of Housing Smoke-Free Notice 2012-22.

HUD provides toolkits containing a compilation of educational, “how-to” and resource brochures, pamphlets and other information designed to assist residents and managers/owners in federally assisted and multi-family housing who want safer and healthier homes for themselves and their families. See the Resident Toolkit Owner/Manager Toolkit for more information.

Reasons Why Some Owners & Managers Implement a No-Smoking Policy
1. One final, outrageously expensive clean-up.
“We evicted some chain smokers and it cost us $13,000 to redo everything, from the ceilings to the electrical outlets. I think even the light bulbs smelled.”
2. Remodeling or new construction to keep clean and fresh.
“We had one unit where we had to replace the carpets in four months due to smoking. There were burns and overflowing ashtrays all over. At that point we decided it was best for us to make them all non-smoking.”
3. Personal impact of smoking.
Don’t wait until this happens to you! Take the preventive step and implement a no-smoking policy.
For more testimonials, see Clearing the Air: Industry Discusses Trend Toward Smoke-Free Housing by UNITS magazine, published by the National Apartment Association, 2007
Web Resources: Colorado

MySmokeFreeHousing.org
Resources for housing providers to help implement no-smoking policies in residential buildings, including sample policies, fact sheets, signs, and more.

MySmokeFreeHousing.com
A listing of residential buildings in Colorado that have no-smoking policies for their entire building or property.

SmokeFreeColorado.org
Provides information about the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, free signs, and other materials.

The Group to Alleviate Smoking Pollution (GASP of Colorado) is a nonprofit organization working to eliminate secondhand smoke from the air you breathe by advocating for smoke-free policies at work, in public places, and in multiunit housing

Provides an immediate response to basic human needs and promote pathways to self-sufficiency for Jefferson County residents and the homeless. Support for tenants and landlords.
Web Resources: Tools & Resources List
Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights provides a selection of resources and tools developed by local, state, and national organizations to support smoke-free housing from a variety of approaches.
Smoke-Free Housing Ordinance Checklist
Created by California’s Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing and the American Lung Association to guide your planning.
Smoke-Free Policies in Multi-Unit Housing- Steps for Success
The American Lung Association worked with experts around the United States to develop this online curriculum on how to implement a smoke-free policy in multi-unit housing properties like apartments and condominiums.
A brief summary of policy benefits, crucial elements, and important policy consideration by the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium.
Toolkit designed to help adopt and enforce no-smoking policy for residential buildings or complexes by Smoke-Free Housing NY.
Toolkit designed by Allen County, Indiana to help landlords understand and implement no-smoking policies.
Web Resources: Low Income Housing
A toolkit for owners/management agents of federally assisted public and multi-family housing
Printable Resources

Benefits Infographic

Frequently Asked Questions

Policy Adoption Steps

If you are an attorney, mediator, or housing provider and are interested in trainings or technical assistance, please call 303-275-7555 or email tobaccofree@jeffco.us.

Are no-smoking policies legal?

Yes. Permitted and Protected by Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act.

Colorado’s Clean Indoor Air Act allows owners and managers to make any part of their property nonsmoking and prohibits smoking an all indoor common areas (CRS 25-14-206). There is no legal or constitutional right to smoke, and no court has ever recognized smoking as a protected right.

What about in HUD and Section 8 Properties?

Yes. Strongly encouraged by HUD.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development allows subsidized housing managers to implement no-smoking policies and encourages public housing authorities to implement no-smoking policies in their communities (Public & Indian Housing Notice 2012-25 and Multifamily Notice 2012-22).
Owners with HUD-assisted units may need HUD approval for the lease change, however it is not necessary to seek HUD approval for changes to house rules if the change meets HUD standard criteria for house rules.
Are these policies discriminatory?

No. Smoking of any kinds is not protected by Federal or Colorado law.

Prohibiting smoking does not discriminate against smokers and does not violate any fair-housing regulations as people who smoke are not a protected class.

What about recreational marijuana, vaporizers, or electronic cigarettes?

Can include in policies.

These products emit some of the same toxic and/or cancer-causing chemicals as tobacco smoke and may cause health problems for adults and children by drifting into adjoining units.

Owners and managers may prohibit smoking of any kind (including marijuana, vaporizing, e-cigarettes) on the property by setting policies and posting notice to that effect in accordance with Federal and Colorado law (Amendment 64 Section 6(d); CRS 25-14-204).

How do I define “smoking?”

No-smoking policies should use a broad definition of “smoking” inclusive of all activities involving marijuana, hookah, vaporizing, and electronic cigarettes in lease language.

What is the bottom line?

Policies that prohibit smoking, including marijuana and vaporizers, are legally permissible and non-discriminatory.

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