Condominium Administration Journal Smoking in Multifamily Housing: Tobacco, Marijuana, or E-Cigs – They All Stink!


By Daniel Yukelson, Govt Director

I believed I’d deal with the topic of smoking from the attitude of a rental housing supplier.  No offense!  In case you are a smoker and luxuriate in it, extra energy to you.  Merely hold your smoking self away from our properties…as in means far-off.

The “backside line” on smoking from the attitude of rental housing suppliers is we simply don’t need smoking wherever in or at our rental properties due to the harm it causes to our rental models, the elevated turnover prices, and in addition due to the numerous complaints we are going to absolutely get from non-smoking renters, notably renters which have younger kids or well being points making them additional delicate to second-hand smoke.  Face it, we don’t need the “stink” round bothering different individuals and harming our in any other case wholesome and quiet existence. 

Nevertheless, on the identical time we don’t want smoking at our rental properties, there are these rental housing suppliers which might be typically reluctant about no-smoking insurance policies being imposed due to issues about being chargeable for enforcement.  I get that.

But, most rental housing suppliers are involved and know that smoking from cigarettes, cigars, marijuana, and E-cigs (sadly, at the moment even from methamphetamine or higher generally known as “meth”) are a unbroken drawback for each residents and homeowners of multifamily rental properties regardless of laws which have been put into place over the previous decade.  From an proprietor’s perspective, as I discussed, smoking, whether or not it’s firsthand, secondhand or thirdhand, not solely causes complaints amongst neighbors and well being dangers to renters and friends, however it additionally causes elevated upkeep and turnover prices when models that contained people who smoke develop into vacant.  In actual fact, lengthy after a smoker vacates a unit, the consequences of thirdhand smoke are nonetheless current…and, for these of you not aware of the idea of third-hand smoke, which I solely lately discovered about, it’s the residual nicotine and different chemical residue brought on by smoking left over on indoor surfaces by tobacco, marijuana, or E-cig smoke.  Form of disgusting when you concentrate on it.

Thirdhand smoke can typically stay in a rental unit for years after a smoker has moved on and could be extraordinarily troublesome to scrub.  One other drawback with third-hand smoke is it isn’t at all times simply detected, and thirdhand smoke that is still can typically trigger hostile well being impacts to the following resident (and the one after that, and so forth) that strikes into your vacant unit…notably for rental models that had a few years of publicity to smoking.

Now let me inform you a bit a couple of examine our Affiliation assisted the College of California, at Los Angeles (UCLA) with.  We participated in a 2019-2020 examine of renters and property homeowners that was carried out by UCLA on behalf of the Metropolis of Los Angeles.  This was the primary of three smoke-free research we now have participated in, the final two being with a personal analysis firm and one other with UCLA’s cross-town rival, the College of Southern California, each of which had been conducting their surveys on behalf of the County of Los Angeles’ Division of well being.  The outcomes of those later USC research are nonetheless pending.  However you could be certain, the County of Los Angeles could be very keen on smoking inside multifamily housing, and I’m prepared to wager you there’ll quickly be smoking bans imposed in all the unincorporated areas of the County if not included ones too.  Now, tenting illegally and doing unlawful narcotics on our streets, sidewalks, and parks will nonetheless be permitted by some means, however no smoking laws are coming our means – and that’s a very good factor regardless of my sarcasm a couple of homelessness disaster we can’t appear to get forward of.

Below the UCLA examine, they (they as within the “Bruins”) discovered that just about 50% of renters had been uncovered to undesirable secondhand smoke at one time or one other at their properties.  That’s an enormous quantity…UCLA surveyed greater than 5,000 renters and about 200 rental property homeowners (we tried to get extra, however a lot of you had been too reluctant to reply – it was troublesome to persuade you to take the $50 present playing cards being provided…missed your probability, sorry). 

Sadly, as we non-smokers know, most people who smoke don’t consider they’re hurting anybody or they selected to disregard the hostile well being impacts of secondhand smoke drifting into different models by open home windows and vents.  The UCLA examine additionally discovered that:

    55% of tenants who stay with somebody with a continual illness reported they’d been uncovered to secondhand smoke of their properties prior to now 12 months.54% of tenants with kids reported publicity to secondhand smoke.Of these tenants reporting smoke drifting into their properties, 39% got here from tobacco, 36% got here from marijuana, and 9% from E-cigs.  The stability got here from barbeques or fires, or another unknown supply.Additionally, 74% of renters had reported smoke got here from outside, 64% reported it got here from one other unit, and 41% reported that smoke drifted in from each outside and one other unit.Apparently, 16% of tenants surveyed reported that they smoked or allowed somebody to smoke of their condo unit.  Now, why would you enable that?!!  It will need to have been the children’ buddies.

Overwhelmingly, 92% of rental property homeowners favored smoke-free insurance policies…once more, the reason being that smoking damages models, turnover is extra pricey, and smoking causes tenants to complain about each other.  That being mentioned, housing suppliers need nothing to do with enforcement of smoke-free insurance policies, and in addition don’t need to be required to carry out extra administrative duties comparable to offering notices to renters or posting pricey indicators.  Whereas “no-smoking” could also be a provision of their leases, most rental property homeowners don’t need to go as far as to evict a renter for smoking in violation of a lease – which given present laws at the moment, most tenant safety ordinance make it very troublesome to evict a renter for smoking in violation of their lease, and the origin of the smoke could also be troublesome to show.  And let’s not neglect, evictions are pricey and time consuming.  Our arms are tied…principally.  Some jurisdictions, like West Hollywood, outright prohibit evicting a tenant for smoking in violation of that Metropolis’s no-smoking at multifamily properties, the West Hollywood property homeowners don’t have any actual enforcement mechanism.

The UCLA examine discovered that 3 out of 5 tenants stay in buildings with some type of smoking ban, whether or not in frequent areas or particular person models. However as I discussed these insurance policies could be troublesome to implement, notably in rent-controlled jurisdictions.  That’s the reason so many tenants reported to UCLA publicity to smoke of their rental models.  Additionally, if a tenant who smokes has rented their unit earlier than a no smoking coverage was put in place, an proprietor sometimes can’t require them to cease except the smoking ban is topic to native ordinance, notably in rent-controlled jurisdictions. 

Within the absence of a prohibition by native ordinance, landlords can solely ask current tenants to voluntarily chorus from smoking.  I’ve discovered the city-wide ban on smoking to be the easiest way to ban smoking in multifamily rental housing as a result of it removes the enforcement obligation from the proprietor, and renters are extra prepared to conform when there’s a risk of a wonderful imposed that may be imposed by town.  From our Affiliation’s perspective, relating to smoke-free insurance policies, we’re nearly at all times supportive offered the insurance policies relieve our members of great administrative obligations, extreme prices, and enforcement obligations.

Our final purpose is to help you, our members, with offering secure and reasonably priced housing at a good return.  Accordingly, insurance policies to guard our residents from the well being dangers of secondhand and thirdhand smoke of their properties is important, and insurance policies that finally get monetary savings so property homeowners could make a couple of bucks within the enterprise, is one thing we prefer to get behind.

One of the best smoke-free ordinances are ones that embrace the institution of a single smoke-free coverage requiring all multiunit housing properties in an area jurisdiction to be 100% smoke-free – as I discussed, an outright ban on smoking in condo buildings works.  That is the one method to shield all tenants.  Most homeowners, as identified within the UCLA survey, really feel smoking needs to be banned all through the whole property and never permitted simply in frequent areas or outside on balconies, for instance.  Any smoke-free coverage should embrace acceptable and well timed policy-enforcement and may by no means depend upon rental property homeowners who’re most frequently absent from their properties and unable to “catch” a smoker within the act.   Within the UCLA examine, 82% of homeowners felt that enforcement was a barrier to imposing a smoke-free coverage at their property.  Most homeowners acknowledged that enforcement by the native jurisdiction was important to a profitable smoke-free coverage.

Lastly, this can be very vital that native governments educate each residents and homeowners about smoke-free insurance policies and supply people who smoke with entry to assets that assist individuals give up smoking with the intention to assist within the compliance and enforcement course of.  The UCLA survey discovered that many house owners had been unaware if there was a no smoking provision in place within the native jurisdiction, and the identical was true of renters as as to whether any no-smoking coverage imposed by their landlord or the jurisdiction by which they stay lined their property.

As we begin the New Yr, and all of us speak about our New Yr’s resolutions, let’s suggest a toast to our well being and people of our buddies, households, and residents.  Possibly sometime, we will look to a smoke-free world relating to our rental properties.  It will be important that every one rental housing suppliers know the problems about smoking and smoke-free insurance policies as a result of that regulatory prepare is coming across the bend, and in case you don’t communicate up, the federal government will communicate for you…make your opinions on smoke-free insurance policies rely.

Daniel Yukelson is presently the Govt Director of The Condominium Affiliation of Larger Los Angeles (AAGLA).  As Licensed Public Accountant, Yukelson started his profession at Ernst & Younger, the worldwide accounting agency, and all through his profession has served in senior monetary roles principally as Chief Monetary Officer for varied public, personal and start-up firms.  Previous to becoming a member of AAGLA, Yukelson served for 15 years as Chief Monetary Officer for Premiere Radio Networks, now a subsidiary of I-Coronary heart Media, and for 3 years as Chief Monetary Officer for Oasis West Realty, the proprietor of the Beverly Hilton and Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills the place he was concerned with the event and development of the Waldorf.  Mr. Yukelson is a former Public Works Commissioner and Planning Commissioner for the Metropolis of Beverly Hills.