One of the choices that Missouri City rental property owners ought to make early on is whether to ban smoking in or on their rental property. There are a lot of good reasons to put such a ban in place, from diminishing 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 look at some no-smoking policies and how to develop one for your lease documents.
Can I Legally Ban Smoking in My Rental Property?
The main thing about no-smoking policies is that smokers are not protected under federal Fair Housing law. That implies that as long as the ban is applied consistently to all tenants and does not discriminate against a protected class, you can include a no-smoking policy in your lease agreement. Nevertheless, it’s important to check your state and local laws for specific regulations or restrictions.
State and Federal Smoking Laws
Some states have laws that control or ban smoking in certain areas, such as in public buildings or multi-unit residences. In those cases, it would be mandatory for rental property owners with properties in these categories to include a no-smoking clause in the lease agreement. Additionally, some states have enacted laws, in particular, addressing where and how tenants can use marijuana for medical or recreational purposes. These laws may impact your no-smoking policy and should be taken into consideration.
In addition to state laws, federal laws restrict smoking in certain subsidized housing units and buildings with federally-backed mortgages. It’s also important to note that marijuana use is still illegal under federal law, regardless of state laws. That includes medical marijuana. To avoid potential federal charges, it might be best to ban smoking of all kinds on your property.
Creating a No-Smoking Policy for Your Lease Agreement
Creating a no-smoking policy for your rental properties kicks off with making a series of decisions. First, consider where you want to allow smoking on your rental property (if at all). Some landlords only ban smoking inside the house, while others also extend the ban to outdoor spaces.
Next, consider what substances you want to include in your no-smoking policy. In addition to traditional cigarettes, will you ban vaping and e-cigarettes? Will you allow medical marijuana use, even if it’s smoked?
Once you have a clear idea of your policy, it’s time to draft it and include it in your lease agreement. Be sure to clearly state the rules and any potential consequences for violating the policy, such as fines or eviction. You may also include language stating that the policy may be amended in the future to comply with any new state or federal laws.
Implementing and Enforcing Your No-Smoking Policy
Once your no-smoking policy is in place, it’s important to address this policy with tenants both during the screening process and with those currently renting from you.
Once the policy is in place, Missouri City property managers must consistently enforce it for all tenants. This means promptly addressing violations and consistently applying any penalties outlined in the lease agreement. It’s also a good idea to occasionally remind tenants of the policy through newsletters or email reminders.
No-smoking policies can do much toward protecting your rental property and avoiding conflicts with neighbors. By understanding your rights and creating a clear policy, you can confidently incorporate a no-smoking clause in your lease agreement.
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.