As concerns over second hand smoke arise, many building owners have decided to put policies in place to make their communities smoke free.

Many new developments are opening as smoke free communities, but it is possible to convert an existing smoking community to a smoke free community.

In addition to eliminating concerns from residents over second hand smoke, smoke free communities will also benefit from lower maintenance and turnover costs associate to damage from cigarette smoke.

While it might sound like a big undertaking, the benefits from converting are quite large:

According to an article published by the National Apartment Association in May 2017, “Smoke-free policies greatly reduce smoke-related property damage. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimate turnover cost on a smoking apartment home to be two to seven times that of a smoke-free unit. Typical repairs of a smoked-in unit include replacing carpets, window coverings, appliances and cleaning and re-painting. Maintenance savings typically average $5,000 per turn.”  (https://www.naahq.org/news-publications/units/may-2017/article/not-blowing-smoke)

Some data also suggests that apartment turnover costs for smoking units can be 2 to 7 times greater than smoke-free units and that maintenance and repair costs increased by $500-$3,000 for units where smoking was allowed vs. units where smoking was not allowed.

Here is what you need to do to convert a community from smoking to smoke free.

  • Determine the timeframe for the change.  You will most likely need to begin implementing the policy for new leases and renewals, and the policy will be phased in to your community.
  • Establish proper lease paperwork to implement the policy.  Consider the NAA Smoke Free Addendum.
  • Notify residents of the upcoming change and the benefits they can expect.
  • Expect a little bit of a challenge in managing the process during the conversion.  Some residents may have questions about why some neighbors are still allowed to smoke.  Taking the time to discuss the change with residents and having responses prepared in advance will help ease the transition.
  • Work with local counsel to determine if imposing fines for violations is appropriate and to discuss additional considerations.

 

Given the cost savings making this change could likely have, in addition to the health and happiness of your residents, you just may determine that smoke free communities are worth the trouble!

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