How do I enforce a no-smoking policy?

“We do an addendum to the lease and tenants have to sign it.” *

Enforce your no-smoking rule just as you would any other rule.

Tips for getting tenants to comply:

  • Explain the rule when prospective tenants tour the property
  • “I have them sign a thing saying that if they smoke they are responsible for bringing it back to condition, including drapes, carpets. So, they’re on the hook for several thousand dollars. So far it’s been bulletproof.” *

    “We give them a verbal warning, send in maintenance for a follow-up inspection, then a 10-day notice if they’re still doing it.” *

  • Explain it again when tenants sign or renew their lease
  • Market your property as non-smoking
  • Post no-smoking signs or stickers
  • Train your management staff on the new policy and make sure they understand it is a priority.
  • Consider creating a designated outdoor area for smoking if you think it would help with compliance.
  • Move receptacles for smoking materials a reasonable distance (25 feet) from building entrances, windows, and ventilation intakes, together with applicable signs.

If tenants fail to comply with the no-smoking rules in their units and common areas, they are in breach of the lease agreement, which could be grounds for eviction. Please see our Sample Warning Letters (PDF) that you can send to tenants who break the no-smoking rule.

* Quotes taken from the report Opinions of Experienced Metro-Area Landlords Regarding Smoking Policies and Practices, Cambell Delong Resources, Inc., November 2006.