The Alliance of Boulder County
on Tobacco and Health

Smoke-free Housing Developments

There have been several developments across the country in the direction of providing nonsmokers with truly smokefree accommodations.

In 1998, a case was filed against the HUD, Kirk and Guilford Management Corporation and Park towers Apartments based on Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the Fair housing Act of 1968 which resulted in an agreement that the Park Tower would go smoke-free beginning in March 15, 1998.

In September 1999, a HUD subsidized property in Illinois became the first [???] known HUD property to institute a No Smoking policy after a resident claimed a disability based on the health condition called "multiple chemical sensitivity" or "environmental illness."

In California, where legislation prohibits smoking in workplaces, bars and restaurants, some cities are encouraging landlords of rental properties to make part or all of their properties smokefree.

Also in California, several lawsuits have been filed to protect people from their neighbors smoking. One tenant obtained an injunction to prevent a neighbor from smoking in a garage. A suit is pending that alleges a neighbor's smoking made a woman ill and promoted her dog's death.

An Ohio Appeals Court in 1994 determined that secondhand smoke may be considered a default by the landlord for not providing quiet enjoyment.

In 1998, a Boston Court awarded two tenants $4350.00 in damages because the landlord did not prevent smoke from a downstairs bar from entering their apartments.

In Summer 2001, the Field Research Corporation conducted an opinion poll that asked some 1800 Californians about multi-family housing. As for common areas within apartment of condominium complexes, some 89% of the respondents said these areas should be smoke-free. Seventy-two percent of non-smokers said that at least 50% of the rental units in apartment complexes should be smokefree. Forty-four percent of the smokers agreed.

In in 1992, Clackamas County in Oregon, a landlord moved a known smoker into a unit below tenant who suffered nauea and respiratory problems from tobacco smoke. The teneat sued th landlord on thr grounds that the landlord breached its statuatory duty to keep the premises habitable and also the covenant of peaceable enjoyment which is implied by common law in rental agreements. A jury trial found a breach of habitibility and awarded the tenant benfits.

In 1991, in Worchester in Maine, a tenat sued her landlord for nuisance, breach of habitability, breach of the warranty of quiet enjoyment, battery and intnetional infliction of emotional stress because of tobacco smoke in her home from a nearby apartment. This case was settled for an undisclosed sum of money.

In 1994, in Middlesex in Maine, a woman suffering from chemical sensitivity, pulinary fibrosis, and a form of sceroderma, won an injunction against her landlord to prevent the rental of units below hers to smokers. The landlord was found to have a prior agreement not to rent the units to smokers.

An excellent resource for much more information about this area is The Smokefree Apartment Registry. It addresses the California area but has tips and suggestions for everywhere.

  • Smokefree Apartment Registry;

    Other web resources for this area -
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