The No-Smoking Policy
(Save the date: RealShare Apartments comes to the Westin Bonaventure, Los Angeles, October 24.)
I recently read that the 13 multifamily properties managed by Santa Barbara, CA-based the Towbes Group Inc. has become the largest apartment portfolio in California to self-impose a no-smoking policy within the individual units and common areas. The 13 apartment communities are located in the cities of Ventura, Goleta, Santa Maria, Lompoc, Santa Barbara, and Carpinteria and represent 1,995 units, according to Jim Carrillo, VP of residential communities for the Towbes Group.
Back when I moved into an apartment building in Hermosa Beach, CA, the same rules applied…All common areas were non-smoking as well as all resident’s patios, but you could smoke inside your own apartment. If I am being honest, at the time, I considered myself to be “the occasional smoker,” (something I am not proud to admit) and the rule didn’t bother me—not in the least actually. But it certainly did get flak from a few visitors of mine and fellow “smoker” neighbors—especially the ones who had been resident’s there pre-policy).
I assumed the rule had to do with the health and safety of the residents and guests, but more importantly, I figured if they really wanted to run with this policy, wouldn’t they outlaw smoking inside the apartment, since, in my opinion, reducing the units cleanup and maintenance costs over the long term—especially in a large apartment building that had quite a bit of turnover, would be a key factor in creating the policy to begin with.
And, full-time smoker or not, we can all agree on the difficulty of completely removing the smell and residue from walls and carpets when a resident leaves.
According to Towbes Carrillo, most of the landlord’s residents are non-smokers who would prefer to live in a smoke-free environment. “Judging by those who are looking to rent in our communities, there is a strong demand for smoke-free housing in the Tri Counties,” he said in a recent statement. Current residents will be given a six month grace period to comply with the non-smoking policy.
And, according to the Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing, secondhand smoke exposure in multi-unit housing is a serious health threat because it drifts from other units, balconies, patios and common areas.
My big question today is: what type of responses have these apartment owners received from their smoker residents, and even though smokers are still the minority, is the rule turning away prospective tenants? More importantly, do you care?
And for you smoker tenants out there…what are your thoughts?
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