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ADVANCE Perspective: Respiratory Views

Smoke-Free Apartments a Boon to Landlords

Published August 23, 2011 9:20 AM by Valerie Newitt

You've heard about smoke free restaurants, smoke-free workplaces, and even smoke-free beaches. Now landlords may have a greater incentive to opt for smoke-free apartment houses. Indeed, home-sweet-home for apartment dwellers may become another smoke-free zone.

When tenants light up a cigarette, they also up the ante for landlords in cleaning costs. A UCLA study published online this month in the American Journal of Public Health, and set to appear in the journal's October print issue, claimed that by implementing complete smoke-free rules throughout their properties, owners of California multi-unit rental buildings could save up to $18 million a year statewide on the cost of cleaning apartments vacated by tenants who smoke. Smoking-related costs for recently vacated units included cleaning, repairs and maintenance; painting and decorating; trash collection and fire damage; property and fire insurance; and legal, administrative and other operating costs.

These policies would also protect their other tenants from the secondhand smoke that seeps between units. Smoke wafts between units through shared airspaces and ventilation, hallways, cracks in walls and floors, electrical outlets, and plumbing fixtures, or from outside.

Non-smokers will surely applaud any move to ban smoking from housing units. But how will this sit with the millions of apartment dwellers who still light up? And should we even care?

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