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Smoke-Free Housing – Information for Landlords, Tenants and Owners

Information for Landlords

A rental property owners’ and condo corporations’ guide to smoke-free multi-unit housing.

University of Waterloo & SF Nova Scotia


Making the Business Case for Prevention: Smoke-free Multiunit Housing.

CDC Tobacco Dept.

Landlords have the legal right to protect their property and designate their building as smoke-free. It is estimated that up to 100, 000 renters per year move because of second-hand smoke, and a recent survey has shown that given the choice between two identical buildings, 80% of Ontarians would select a building that is entirely smoke-free. With public demand growing for market-rate, smoke-free housing, adopting a non-smoking policy within your rental property is not only legal, but good for business.

The benefits of smoke-free housing

Tenant complaints about second-hand smoke odours and exposure are commonly cited by housing providers as taking valuable time to address and resolve. Smoke-free housing policies have clear economic and property protection benefits for landlords:

  • Maintenance and repair costs of smoker units are roughly two to three times higher upon unit turn-over (approximately $800 per unit) when compared to a smoke-free unit.
  • Smoke-free units have higher resale value than smoking units, positively affecting the value at resale by up to 29%.
  • Landlords who implement smoke-free policies may be eligible for reduced insurance premiums.
  • Smoke-free units have a much lower risk of fire damage.

Did you know?

  • The Ontario Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 does not prevent landlords from adopting non-smoking policies.
  • Implementing a smoke-free policy does not prohibit smokers from renting accommodations; current tenants who smoke cannot be evicted, nor are they forced to quit smoking.
  • Once implemented, smoke-free policies are typically adhered to and require little staff time or monitoring.


If you are interested in implementing a smoke-free policy at your property, below are some valuable resources to help get you started:

Information for Home Owners and Tenants

Over a third of Halton residents live in a multi-unit dwelling and public demand for smoke-free rental units across the region is on the rise.

If you are bothered by second-hand smoke in your multi-unit dwelling and you want your landlord to make your building smoke-free, you should know that the Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA) prohibits smoking in multi-unit dwellings within common areas including elevators, stairwells, hallways, parking garages, laundry facilities, lobbies, exercise areas and party or entertainment rooms.

This legislation does not extend into people's private homes or apartment units, however, landlords and condominium corporations are free to set restrictions on smoking in rental agreements, leases and bylaws.

The benefits of smoke-free housing

  • Living in a smoke-free property reduces your exposure to second hand smoke, may help you or a family member quit smoking, and reduces your risk for some chronic diseases.
  • Apartments where a non-smoking policy has been implemented have much lower levels of tobacco toxins and nicotine levels than in apartments where smoking is permitted.

Did you know?

  • Exposure to second-hand smoke has been linked to developing several cancers, breathing problems, heart disease, stroke, pregnancy complications, and sudden infant death syndrome.
  • Children, pregnant women, seniors, people living with chronic health problems and pets are most at risk from being exposed to second-hand smoke.

What works and what doesn’t

  • Second-hand smoke can drift into your unit through electrical ducts; cracks and openings through around window and door frames, through floorboards, skirting boards, and ceilings; shared indoor spaces; ventilation systems; and patios/balconies.
  • Exposure to second-hand smoke cannot be stopped by additional ventilation or air purifiers.
  • The best way to reduce second-hand smoke exposure in rental units is to ask your landlord to adopt a non-smoking policy.

What you can do about second-hand smoke in multi-unit housing

Try to determine where the smoke is coming from and how it is entering your unit. If a neighbour’s smoke is entering your apartment or condo, Smoke-Free Housing Ontario (external link) recommends several options:

Learn more at (external link) or contact Halton Region Health Department at 311.