For Landlords

Landlords_smoke free building

Have you been thinking about adopting smoking restrictions for your rental properties, including inside individual units? If you're like other landlords, you know just how much time and money it takes to repaint, re-carpet, and turn over apartments that have housed smokers.

A smoke-free policy is NOT discriminatory.

There is no constitutional right to smoke under Virginia or Federal Law. You know that you may (and probably already do) lawfully regulate tenant behavior that affects other tenants or presents a risk to the unit or building:

  • Pet policies
  • Noise restrictions
  • Prohibition on water beds
  • Occupancy limits
  • Restrictions on grilling, and more

With that power, you may restrict smoking on your property, even inside individual units, without concern for discrimination or violating the Fair Housing Act. Learn more about discrimination and the Fair Housing Act.

 Tenants Rights

Tenants do have rights relevant to smoking issues—the right to be free from smoke infiltration from a neighboring unit if that infiltration rises to the level of a nuisance, or a breach of the warranty of quiet enjoyment or habitability. In fact, non-smokers with serious breathing disabilities or smoke allergies may have legal protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act. Landlords may be obligated to take reasonable steps to reduce the harm to such an individual.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), landlords offering Section 8 housing may restrict smoking in individual units, as long as the policy is not used to target a protected class or minority. Landlords may be required to “grandfather” current smoking tenants until lease renewal.

Landlords can Create an Healthy Environment

As a landlord, you can play a role in eliminating secondhand smoke, a significant cause of residential fires and a major cause of preventable illness and death in the U.S.

There are many misconceptions about smoke-free policies; you may find it difficult to make an informed decision. This site provides much of the information that you will need to make your property smoke-free. You can always contact us for additional information.

What should I do?

The first thing you need to do is educate yourself. We’ve included information on this website intended to explain your responsibilities and how you can educate and distribute your policies to your tenants. Learn more: