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Residents of Multi-Unit Housing

A Healthier Building = A Healthier You

The best way to get rid of secondhand smoke in a multi-unit building is for your property manager to make the building completely smoke-free. This is legal. Talk to your property manager and make the issue important to him/her.

Five steps to smoke-free multi-unit housing:

1. Document the problem: Keep a written record of when and where you see or smell secondhand smoke and where it is coming from. Make a list of any health effects you feel from the smoke: headaches, sore throat, or any illness that the smoke makes worse, including asthma and allergies.

2. Examine the rent/lease agreement: There may be clauses in your lease about limiting bad odors (e.g. cooking) or loud noises (e.g. playing loud music). Smoking should be added to this list of things that could bother other residents, especially because smoke drifts between apartments, causing illness and discomfort.

3. Build consensus with your neighbors: You’re not the only one suffering. Ask your neighbors if they have problems with tobacco smoke coming into their apartments. They can help you approach your property manager – there’s power in numbers! If your neighbors are experiencing similar problems as you, have them keep a written record too.

4. Recommend going smoke-free: Make sure your property manager is aware that secondhand smoke in multi-unit housing is not just a nuisance but a serious health problem. Ask your neighbors to sign a letter or petition requesting the property be taken smoke-free. When your property manager sees how many residents are interested in going smoke-free, hopefully he/she will realize the importance of a policy change.

5. Educate your property manager: Taking a multi-unit housing building smoke-free has a huge positive impact on the property manager. Sure, it will attract more tenants and keep residents happy and healthy. But it also saves money by reducing the cost of cleaning and renovating units, and may provide insurance savings. See the smoke-free multi-unit housing for managers page for more information.

If you or your property manager want help along the way, please contact us: