Smoke-Free Housing. Good for Business. Good for People.

Residents are looking for smoke-free housing and residents are also willing to pay more and travel more just to find cleaner, healthier homes for themselves and their families.

“Smoke-free apartment communities not only promotes healthy residents, but also a healthy bottom line.”

Dave Watkins, Former Chairman of the Board, National Apartment Association


No legal barrier prevents owners or managers of multi-unit housing complexes from adopting smoke-free policies, according to Americans for Non Smoking Rights.  Surveys find that most tenants prefer smoke-free policies. No evidence exists that going smoke-free would be difficult to implement or enforce. Rather, operators of multi-unit housing with smoke-free policies indicated that they are more likely to keep the policies in place.

Smoke-Free Policies are Legal Q&A

Advice on Enforcing a Smoke-Free Housing Policy

“As a landlord, you not only have the legal right to adopt a smoke-free policy, but the ability to enforce this policy as you would any other lease clause.”

Public Health Law Center

Getting Started

We have put together a helpful guide for switching to a smoke-free policy.


Housing providers are increasingly adopting smoke-free policies in multi-unit residential buildings due to concerns about drifting smoke, smoking related maintenance costs and to reduce fire risks. Secondhand smoke is a carcinogen that can’t completely be removed by ventilation because it clings to walls and furniture. It’s a known cancer causing agent.

Those who enact comprehensive smoke-free policies that cover indoor areas as well as balconies, and common outdoor areas are the most successful. Policies that allow residents to smoke on balconies or porches could be subject to fair housing or false advertising complaints.
Long-term grandfathering in the policy implementation timeline also can increase resident friction and distrust of the housing provider. The most effective policy sets a finite date for policy implementation and avoids drawing it out for longer than a year.
A smoke-free grounds policy would include all indoor areas, common areas, individual units, balconies, patios, entrances and anywhere on the property grounds. Include electronic cigarettes in the restrictions as well. E-cigarette use already is prohibited for those under age 21 in most communities in Johnson County.

Ventilation Does Not Protect Against Secondhand Smoke

The American Society of Heating and Refrigeration Engineers affirmed in 2016 that “At present, the only means of effectively eliminating health risk associated with indoor exposure is to ban smoking activity.”

Model Smoke-free Lease Addendum

A Smoke-Free Housing Library

Public Housing Policies

“Two factors influenced our decision to go smoke-free. First, the cost of turning a unit that had a smoker in it was astronomical.  I knew if I could smell cigarette smoke in the building hallways, so could visitors and possible future residents. The majority of my residents are smokers, so it has been a challenge, but I still believe a smoke-free policy was best for the property as a whole and I’m very happy we did it.”

Carrie Newton, CS-PHM Executive Director, Bonner Springs Housing Authority