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News Release

Demand strong for smoke-free multi-unit housing, so where’s the supply?

Oct 13, 2015
SIMCOE MUSKOKA - Landlords and condominium owners with No Smoking units have higher resale values, a larger market of interested renters and buyers and lower maintenance costs and fire risks.

SIMCOE MUSKOKA - Landlords and condominium owners with No Smoking units have higher resale values, a larger market of interested renters and buyers and lower maintenance costs and fire risks.

So why doesn’t the supply of smoke-free housing meet the demand?

“It’s a case of knowing you can ask for no smoking units as a tenant and knowing that you can designate your units No Smoking as a landlord,” says Leslie Gordon, Tobacco Program Coordinator with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “Back in the day when smoking rates were high and we didn’t know how dangerous it was to breathe tobacco smoke, it wasn’t an issue. Today we are very aware that secondhand tobacco smoke causes many serious illnesses for people of all ages.

“We are at the point where only one in five people smoke in this region. The majority doesn’t want smoke drifting into their units through shared walls, windows and balconies. But they don’t know what to do about it.”

The health unit is working with community partners to try to build that awareness. It is reaching out to remind landlords, condo corporations, social housing providers and individual renters and buyers  that smoke-free housing is healthy, legal and in demand.

“We are not trying to force people out of their units if they smoke. Our goal is to ensure people have healthy and safe smoke-free choices,” said Gordon.

The health unit recommends people looking to rent or buy ask for No Smoking units. Landlords can start the process to convert to a smoke-free building by adding a written No Smoking clause to the leases of units as they become vacant.  They can market these units as No Smoking and include the clause in the lease as protection from the smoke damage and fire danger caused by smoking.

Condominium corporations can proactively pass bylaws or change the declaration to transform their townhomes and apartments to No Smoking to protect the corporation and ensure high resale values for owners. A 2013 survey of real estate brokers showed many potential owners will refuse to even consider a unit where smoking has taken place. Resale prices are also lower for smoked-in units.

The health unit can help tenants and landlords get started making their buildings smoke free. Resources, including information, legal opinions, tenant surveys and tips for going smoke free, are available at http://www.simcoemuskokahealth.org or by calling Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or toll free at 1-877-721-7520 weekdays, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Benefits for tenants

  • Protection from secondhand smoke for the entire family
  • Smoking is the leading cause of fatal home fires
  • There is no way to stop drifting smoke between units  with shared walls.

 Benefits for landlords, condo owners

  • Cost to refurbish a smoke-free unit is lower
  • Reduced fire risk and in some cases insurance rates
  • Better resale values, larger market for your properties.


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