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Smoking and Vaping

Rental and multi-unit housing

Smoke-free housing is healthy, legal and in demand

If you are living in a multi-unit dwelling where people smoke in their units, chances are you have experienced drifting secondhand smoke. It comes in through shared ventilation systems, patio doors, windows, electrical and other openings in the walls and ceiling.

If you are a landlord, you have probably tried to deal with these complaints with limited results. There is a solution. Work to make your apartment building, townhouse or condo No Smoking (anything). It's a move that is healthy, legal and in demand.

Why tenants and buyers should ask for smoke-free housing

No Smoking buildings protect you and your family. Secondhand smoke has been linked to cancers, respiratory problems, heart disease and strokes. In children, exposure can cause middle ear disease, respiratory tract illnesses, low birth weight and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Smoking is the leading cause of fatal home fires. The Ontario Fire Marshal's Office reports that lit smoking materials are the number one ignition source in fatal fires and fires in residential dwellings, and account for 72% of structure loss fires.

The landlord or condo board can introduce a No Smoking Policy for your building. The Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 (SFOA) specifies public areas in apartment and condo buildings such as hallways and laundry rooms must be smoke free and vape free to protect users from secondhand smoke. The SFOA does not cover private units but can choose to voluntarily adopt one. The policy cannot be imposed on existing tenants.

Why landlords and owners should offer it

Only 1 in 5 adults in our region smoke. A majority of tenants want to live in No Smoking buildings. A 2010 Ipsos Reid poll showed one-third of multi-unit dwelling residents were involuntarily exposed to drifting secondhand smoke in their units. The majority said they would prefer to live in a smoke-free building.

Smoke-free residential buildings reduce your fire risk and insurance rates. Some insurance providers, like the Housing Services Corporation, have begun to factor No Smoking policies in its premium allocations.

The cost to refurbish a smoke-free unit is much lower than a unit with smoking. It is estimated that costs to clean and turnover a rental unit where there has been regular smoking can be as much as two to three times more than a non-smoking unit.

We have resources for tenants and landlords that include tips on getting started, tenant surveys, legal opinions and commonly asked questions about making a multi-unit residence smoke free.

Promote your smoke-free building

Has your apartment or condo building introduced a No Smoking policy? Call us to let us know and go on and add your building to the Smoke-Free Housing registry. Your healthy changes could also be recognized on World No Tobacco Day when we celebrate local Smoke-Free Champions.

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