As a property owner or manager, once you understand the benefits of making your property smoke-free it’s time to make the transition. Below we spell out the simple steps for how to do it successfully.
Step One: Gain Staff and Resident Buy-in
Ensure your staff understands the new policy and can answer questions. Also, find out how many residents smoke in their apartment units. You may find that not all households with residents who smoke allow smoking in their units. This process will help inform residents that a smoke-free policy is on the horizon.
Step Two: Plan the Policy and Set a Time Frame
Adopt a written policy to include as a lease addendum or house rule. Arizona Smoke-Free Living has sample policy language that fall under our two recommended standards:
GOLD: Smoking, including the use of electronic devices, is prohibited on the entire property, including, but not limited to, individual apartment units, balconies, patios, parking lots, both private and work vehicles on the property, swimming pool area(s), and all other common areas. All residents, guests, property management staff, and outside vendors must abide by this policy at all times and, if they choose to smoke, must do so off premises.
SILVER: Smoking, including the use of electronic devices, is prohibited on the entire property except in a designated outdoor smoking area. Prohibited areas include, but are not limited to, individual apartment units, balconies, patios, parking lots, both private and work vehicles on the property, swimming pool area(s), and all other common areas. All residents, guests, property management staff, and outside vendors must abide by this policy at all times and may only smoke in the designated outdoor smoking area in compliance with the Smoke-Free Arizona Act.
Decide the timing for implementing the new policy and notify residents of your reasons for going smoke-free. Initiate all new and renewed leases with a smoke-free lease addendum. For properties that have house rules, initiate all new and renewed guidelines with the smoke-free policy included in the house rules.
Step Three: Post Signs and Remind Residents
Send out a reminder announcement to residents a few days prior to the policy going into effect. You should also post signs at the entrances to the buildings and in other no-smoking areas. If your property is to allow smoking in a designated area, post a sign at the area. In accordance with the Smoke-Free Arizona Act, free no-smoking signage (provided by the Smoke-Free Arizona office) must also be posted in common areas. Contact the Smoke-Free Arizona office to learn more.
Step Four: Advertise Your Policy
There is a substantial market for smoke-free. Advertising your smoke-free policy is important to this market segment looking for a smoke-free residence. A recent study in Arizona found that seven out of 10 renters preferred smoke-free rules. Complete the simple application here to list your property free of charge on our smoke-free housing directory.
Step Five: Enforce Your Policy
Smoke-free policies are largely self-enforcing. Ensure the lease language prohibits smoking and specifies that it is a violation of the lease, in case a violation occurs (included in the Arizona Smoke-Free Living sample policies). Document violations and witnesses who would testify to incidents of smoking. Sustaining the policy can actually save time by avoiding problems that arise from secondhand smoke complaints.
An implementation plan is important in rolling out any new policy, and going smoke-free is no different.