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smoke-free communities

What Renters Can Do


Questions to Ask before You Rent


If you are concerned about being exposed to secondhand smoke (SHS) in your apartment or condominium, ask the following questions before you rent about smoke free policies at the properties you visit. Properties advertised as smoke-free can have very different policies.

1.

Find out if the community you are interested in has a smoking policy. If so, is the policy verbal or written in the lease or house rules?

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Ask if the policy applies to everyone, or just new residents.

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Ask if the policy covers indoor common areas and units and outdoor areas including decks, balconies and patios.

2.

Ask if there are residents who currently smoke inside or out. If yes, where do they smoke?

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Ask if they are smoking anywhere in the building and if there is a shared ventilation system, it is likely that SHS may drift into your unit.

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If they smoke outside near your windows, doors, or balcony, smoke could also drift into your unit.

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Ask is there is a requirement to smoke so many feet away for the building?

3.

Ask about enforcement.

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Does the landlord/manager check to make sure nobody is smoking?

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How would landlord/manager respond if you made a complaint about a smoking neighbor or guest?

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If a resident or their guest is smoking, what would be done about it?

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Are signs posted to make residents and visitors aware of the no-smoking policy?

4.

Did the previous tenant smoke? If so, what was done to clean the apartment?

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The residual odors and contamination from SHS can be hard to eliminate if an extensive cleaning is not done properly.


For more information about smoke-free apartments in Utah contact Cassandra Fairclough by phone at 801-538-6754, or by email at: cassandrafairclough@utah.gov

If you are interested in looking for smoke-free multi-unit housing, visit our website at http://www.tobaccofreeutah.org/tobfreehousing.html

If There is Already a Problem


Keep documentation

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When do you smell the smoke: all the time, only in morning, or evening? Where do you think the smoke is coming from? Where is the smoke entering your unit? The more information you can provide will help in resolving the problem.

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Keep a tracking log of when and where you smell the smoke.

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Make a list of solutions you have already tried. What steps have you taken? See temporary fixes for possible solutions.

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Talk to your neighbors. Drifting smoke may also be a concern for them. Those with health problems or children with upper respiratory problems are likely to be concerned about the health risks associated with secondhand smoke as well

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If you feel comfortable, discuss the problem with the neighbor you believe to be smoking. Politely let them know that smoke is coming into your unit. Offer solutions, such as asking them to smoke outside away from the building.

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Keep track of all symptoms and illnesses that you are experiencing as a result of the secondhand smoke in your apartment. These may include, ear infections, sore throats, asthma attacks and bronchitis. A doctor's letter documenting the illness will be helpful when talking with management.

Inform Your Building Manager/Leasing Agent

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Write a letter to your manager detailing the problem and offer solutions. Let them know what steps you may have already taken. See the sample landlord letter.

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If you or a family member has a health problem(s) caused by SHS exposure, include a copy of a letter from your doctor documenting the illness.

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Keep copies of any correspondence sent to your manager and document any conversations that may have taken place. See communication record

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Follow-up with your manager to discuss the situation. Be positive, polite and stick to the issue. Work together to resolve the problem instead of getting angry

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Work with management by offering solutions such as conducting a tenant survey, or holding a tenants' meeting. Management may be willing to relocate you to a different building or allow you to end your lease to find a smoke-free community.

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Provide educational materials to your manager about the dangers of being exposed to secondhand smoke and the benefits of a smoke-free community.

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Management may not be aware that smoke-free policies are legal. Under Utah law, managers can prohibit smoking in units, on the premises, or both.

 

 

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