Advocates for a smoke-free British Columbia
June 8, 2015

Powell River Property Manager converts rental properties to 100% smoke-free for cost savings

Chris Carlos' Story

“It’s nice to say it’s a health issue, but really it comes down to maintenance costs,” explained Chris Carlos, Property Manager for RE/MAX Property Management in Powell River.

June is Smoke-Free Housing Month. For resources and more information, go to SmokeFreeHousingBC.ca

Carlos is referring to his decision to make all rental units completely smoke-free. “It’s a clause that we include in our rental agreements; tenants need to agree to this before we sign a lease with them,” said Carlos.

“We’ve had potential tenants walk away because of the lingering smoke smell. You can clean the carpets and repaint the walls, but it’s hard to get the smoke smell to leave completely,” continued Carlos.

The landlords owning the rental properties that Carlos manages are on board. “Once you explain not only the health benefits associated with going smoke-free, but also the maintenance costs that will be saved, it’s hard for them not to agree with it,” said Carlos.

“At the end of the day, it just comes down to costs; it costs too much to allow tenants to smoke in our units,” explained Carlos.

According to health advocates the BC Lung Association and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, smoke-free apartments are gaining momentum as more and more families want to live in 100% smoke-free environments. In fact, a 2013 Angus Reid survey of 833 residents living in multi-unit dwellings, confirmed that nearly two thirds of residents prefer to live in a building that is completely smoke-free [1].

Hugh Turner, a landlord in Victoria who owns multiple apartment buildings, switched all his buildings to smoke-free status six years ago when he learned it was legal to do. “It’s good for tenants and it’s good for our bottom line. Plus it was easy to do.” Like many landlords in BC, Turner recognized the huge demand for smoke-free housing, as well as the obvious cost savings, and hasn’t looked back.

Proactive landlords who have made the switch to smoke-free buildings are simply finding the benefits too great to ignore:

  • Saves you money by reducing cleaning, repair and maintenance costs
  • Reduces complaints from tenants: 50% of residents living in multi-unit dwellings have experienced smoke infiltrating their homes from neighbouring units. [2]
  • Reduces the risk of fires: Tobacco materials are the #1 source of fatal residential fires in BC.
  • Offers a safer, healthier and cleaner indoor environment for residents.
  • Protects against litigation by tenants seeking relief from disabilities aggravated by second-hand smoke.
  • Is non-discriminatory. They don’t exclude people who smoke, but simply require that they comply with the no-smoking policy.

“British Columbians are used to smoke-free environments at work, in restaurants and bars, in public places, as well as outdoor parks and beaches. And we want the same protections in our homes.” said Scott McDonald, CEO of the BC Lung Association

Once landlords go smoke-free they’re hooked – on the benefits that is. “It’s one of the easiest things you can do to protect your investment, reduce fires and clean-up costs, protect resident health, and reduce complaints of second-hand smoke from frustrated tenants.” says Tyler Davis, Property Manager, Vancouver Management Ltd. 

According to the Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey, the BC Smoking rate is 11.4 percent, the lowest rate in the country.  If landlords are concerned about vacancies, look to this growing population of prospective tenants who view smoke-free homes as an attractive and non-negotiable amenity.

For info on how to make your building smoke-free visit

www.smokefreehousingbc.ca

For help with quitting smoking, visit quitnow.ca or call the helpline for one-on-one support at 1-877-455-2233. 

The Heart and Stroke Foundation (B.C. & Yukon) and the BC Lung Association work together to raise public awareness about the serious health risks of exposure to second-hand smoke and to advocate for smoke-free environments.


[1] Angus Reid Survey of 833 residents in BC on smoking in multi-unit dwellings. Commissioned by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the BC Lung Association. April 15-18, 2013.

[2] Angus Reid Survey, April 15-18, 2013.

Media Contacts
  • Sharon Hammond
    Smoke-Free Housing Manager
    Clean Air Coalition of BC
    E info@smokefreehousingbc.ca

    Katrina van Bylandt
    Communications Manager
    BC Lung Association
    T 604 731 5864
    vanbylandt@bc.lung.ca

    Shima Ghailan
    Communications Manager
    Heart and Stroke Foundation,
    BC & Yukon
    T 778.372.8024
    sghailan@hsf.bc.ca