New Apartment Properties saying No to Second Hand Smoke

Thursday, July 23, 2015 - 1:14pm

Help is Available to Property Companies Looking to Go Smoke-Free

If tobacco smoke from a neighboring apartment has been sneaking in to your living space and fouling the air with the toxic byproducts of burning tobacco, there may be some hope on the horizon.  Over the past two years, the Tobacco Free Columbia-Dane County Coalition has helped 25 apartment properties in Dane County  implement smoke-free policies.  This means that the terms of the rental agreement or lease require that all units in the building must be smoke-free.   This summer, two new properties are being added to this steadily growing list that now includes over 200 properties.  One of the new entries is The Legacy Apartments.  The other is the Madison Community Development Authority which is the process of opening smoke-free public housing buildings this summer, a first for public housing in Dane County.
 
McKenzie Apartment Company owns the new Legacy Apartments, which currently has 108 smoke-free units throughout three buildings. Legacy will have a total of 286 units by 2017, all with a smoke-free policy in place. McKenzie Apartment Company cited the growing demand for smoke-free living as well as the high cost of cleaning smoking apartments as the primary reasons for the decision.
 
“We want our renters to be happy in their living space and non-smokers don’t want to be subjected to the smell and dangers of second-hand cigarette smoke.” said Arika Kleinert, property manager for Legacy Apartments “Smoking isn’t as popular as it used to be, seeing as the majority of our renters request non-smoking units. We believe for health reasons, offering non-smoking buildings and units is another great benefit we can provide to our renters.” Kleinert has also played a critical part in implementing smoke-free policies in two other properties managed by McKenzie Apartment Company.
The Community Development Authority´s action to create the first smoke free public housing locally will be opening two new buildings by the end of August.  The apartments are located at the Truax Park Apartment complex on Madison´s East side.  
 
“We have received zero negative feedback from tenants that will be moving into the new smoke-free units.  Even a few of the current smokers have mentioned that this is a good idea and they hope it will be the impetus they need to either cut back or quit completely.  So it’s a win-win for everyone!” said Janet Corcoran, property manager for the Community Development Authority.
 
The Tobacco Free Columbia-Dane County Coalition is helping both of these properties prepare for their openings.  These projects are part of the Clear Gains campaign - a statewide initiative to inform property management companies of the benefits of voluntarily making their properties smoke-free. 
 
“We are excited to see both Legacy Apartments and the Community Development Authority take this positive step to improve the health of their residents,” said Nina Gregerson, Assistant Coalition Coordinator. “Smoke-free rental properties are definitely becoming the norm in Dane County. In addition to helping owners and managers implement 25 smoke-free policies, we’ve identified over 200 properties that have existing smoke-free policies in place. We expect to see even more properties go smoke-free as this movement continues.”
 
Gregerson points out that a number of resources are available for property managers at the Clear Gains campaign website www.wismokefreehousing.com, including lease language, timelines for implementation, compliance letters and policy reminders.  “The site is pretty comprehensive, but if you don’t see something that you need, let us know and we’d be happy to work with you.” 
 
If you are a property owner and manager with smoke-free buildings, visit the Clear Gains website to learn how you can list your properties for free on their Smoke-Free Housing Finder.
 
For more information, contact Nina Gregerson at (608) 243-0434 or ngregerson@publichealthmdc.com.
 
 For additional information about the activities of the Tobacco Free Columbia-Dane County Coalition

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Health & Safety