One of the initial considerations that Portsmouth rental property owners should take is whether to ban smoking in or on their rental property. There are plenty of good reasons to put such a ban in place, from reducing property damage to avoiding conflicts with neighbors. No-smoking policies today are a bit more complicated than before, thanks to the popularity of vaping and e-cigarettes and changing laws about marijuana. Let’s take a closer look at no-smoking policies and how to create one for your lease documents.
Can I Legally Ban Smoking on My Rental Property?
The essential factor about no-smoking policies is that smokers are not protected under federal Fair Housing law. That is, you can include a no-smoking policy in your lease agreement as long as the ban is applied consistently to all tenants and does not discriminate against a protected class. It is, however, vital to examine your state and local laws for specific regulations or restrictions.
State and Federal Smoking Laws
Other states have laws that limit or forbid smoking in particular areas, such as in public buildings or multi-unit residences. In those instances, rental property owners with properties in these categories would be obliged to include a no-smoking clause in the lease agreement. Moreover, some states have adopted laws specifically addressing where and how tenants can use marijuana for medical or recreational purposes. These laws may have an impact on your no-smoking policy and should be addressed.
Besides state laws, federal laws restrict smoking in some subsidized housing units and buildings with federally-backed mortgages. It’s also critical to remember that marijuana use is still illegal under federal law despite state laws. That includes medical marijuana. To minimize unnecessary federal charges, you must forbid smoking of all forms on your property.
Creating a No-Smoking Policy for Your Lease Agreement
Establishing a no-smoking policy for your rental properties begins with a variety of choices. Initially, think about where you want to allow smoking on your rental property (if at all). Many owners only restrict smoking inside the house, while others also extend the ban to outdoor spaces.
After that, think about what substances you want to include in your no-smoking policy. Aside from traditional cigarettes, will you forbid vaping and e-cigarettes? Will you permit medical marijuana use, even if it’s smoked?
Once you’ve settled on your policy, it’s important to write it and put it in your lease agreement. Remember to clearly state the rules and any potential penalties for violating the policy, including fines or eviction. It’s also an excellent idea to add language stating that the policy may be amended in the future to follow any new state or federal laws.
Implementing and Enforcing Your No-Smoking Policy
Once your no-smoking policy is set, it’s essential to address this policy with tenants both during the screening process and with those currently renting from you.
Once the policy is in place, Portsmouth property managers should constantly enforce it for all tenants. This means punctually addressing violations and constantly applying any penalties outlined in the lease agreement. It’s also a great idea to remind tenants of the policy regularly via newsletters or email reminders.
No-smoking policies can assist in protecting your rental property and avoiding conflicts with neighbors. By realizing your rights and creating a clear policy, you can incorporate a no-smoking clause in your lease agreement.
The personnel at Real Property Management Complete are familiar with no-smoking policies and how to implement them into a lease contract. Contact us online if you have additional questions.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.