Ontario Expands Smoking Ban: Is It Time For Smoke-Free Apartments?

by | Feb 2, 2015 | Rental Property Management Tips

Ontario has adopted sweeping restrictions on cigarette smoking in public.

As of January, 2015, residents there can no longer smoke on bar or restaurant patios — covered or not, near children’s playgrounds, or publicly owned sport fields, ice rinks, and public swimming pools.

tenant screeningThe move is part of an assertive, multi-phase no-smoking campaign designed to prevent illnesses attributed to secondhand smoke exposure. While Ontario’s measures are extensive, they fall short of restricting smoking in individual units in rental properties. That, lawmakers say, would be going too far for government.

However, there is nothing preventing individual landlords from banning cigarette smoking in apartments.  Landlords who have enjoy some crucial benefits:

1. Smoke-free properties are in high demand, with a strong majority of renters seeking buildings with full smoking bans in place.
2. Experience proves that a cigarette smoking ban significantly cuts maintenance and turnaround costs.
3. By banning cigarette smoking, a landlord prevents the risk of a lawsuit for secondhand smoke injury.
4. Fewer smokers means fewer tenant complaints and disputes to resolve.

Despite these benefits, the lack of available smoke-free properties points to reluctance on the part of many landlords to adopt a non-smoking stance. Some may fear that they are caught between a rock and a hard place because banning smokers is discriminatory. This simply is not the case.

Laws like the ones in Ontario prove that the government supports a ban on cigarette smoking. With Ontario as a model, government smoking bans are likely to increase across the country. Courts and tribunals, too, support smoking bans. Recent decisions show that it is allowing secondhand smoke in rental properties that causes legal problems for landlords, not banning it.

So, if you’ve been stalling the decision to go smoke-free, now may be the time to rethink that strategy. Adopting a no-smoking policy in your rental units will improve your bottom line, and attract a wider pool of qualified — and conscientious — tenants.

For more information about implementing an effective no-smoking policy, view our post How Do I Enforce a No Smoking Policy?

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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