Are you missing out on a major part of the rental market? You might be if you allow smoking on your property.
As research on the harms of smoking and anti-tobacco policies continue to emerge, more people are trying to protect themselves from toxic secondhand smoke and fire hazards. In Klamath County nearly 80 percent of adults don’t smoke, and of those who do, 69 percent report that they want to quit. In fact, more than half of them made a quit attempt in the past year.
What does this have to do with rental housing? According to ORS 479.250 to 479.300, landlords must disclose: whether smoking is permitted; allowed on the premises; or allowed in limited areas. Thanks to this law, renters will know if they will be impacted by secondhand smoke before they sign a lease.
As a property owner, protecting your housing investment and meeting the market demand are at the top of your list, and smokefree policies are an easy way to meet the demand.
Secondhand smoke is incredibly destructive in your rental property: stained the walls and fixtures; carpets saturated with stubborn odors; and burns to countertops and flooring. When turning over the property, the cost of cleaning a unit that has been smoked in can be 2 to 3 times higher than in properties with no-smoking policies.
Furthermore, allowing smoking in even one unit can cause damage and negatively impact health of tenants in neighboring units. The Centers for Disease Control states that secondhand smoke travels through doors, windows, and ventilation systemsundefinedseparation of smoking and smokefree units is inadequate.
Landlords may be hesitant prohibit smoking on their property in fear of losing renters, but there is a rapidly growing market for smokefree rental properties.
A survey conducted by Campbell DeLong Resources Inc. in 2008 found that 70 percent of renters would prefer to live in a smokefree building, and 40 percent would even pay a little more rent to do so. Safe and healthy homes should be a given, not a luxury.
A no-smoking policy does not mean no-smokers. Seventy four percent of adults in Klamath County report that they already have no-smoking rules in their home.
Plus, no-smoking rules are legal! It’s similar to prohibiting pets or setting limits on the number of tenants that can occupy the unit. The Fair Housing Council of Oregon states “property owners have every right to restrict smoking in and on property.”
In 2008, Oregon’s largest property management company, Guardian Management successfully took its 12,000 properties smokefree and has received very positive feedback. Seventy five percent of tenants are happy with the policy, 50 percent of smokers have made a quit attempt, and 43 percent have reduced the number of cigarettes they smoke.
Are you ready to protect your investment and establish a smokefree rental property?
Here’s what to do:
1: Get Input from Tenants and Give Adequate Notice
“More cooperation than expected. Take time for resident involvement and input.” –Kris Still, Director of Leased Housing, Northeast Oregon Housing Authority
2: Develop the Policy and Update Your Lease
Forms are available through your rental housing association.
3: Transition the Property
You can wait until a lease is up or simply phase in the policy.
“Once the property is clean and restored, keeping it smokefree leads to many benefits for the property manager and owner. We have seen more timely lease-ups, increased rents, and a very satisfied client.” –Barb Casey, Kennedy Restoration
4: Market Smokefree as an Amenity
For more information and support go to smokefreehousinginfo.com
or contact Jennifer Little at Klamath County Public Health at 541.882.8846.