While not all residents will quickly embrace a no-smoking policy in your community, there are benefits to going smoke-free and these benefits should be communicated clearly to residents.
If an amendment to the governing documents is required to implement the no-smoking policy, then a homeowner vote is usually needed. Your property management company can work with your attorney on a communication to homeowners, which includes detailed information on the proposed policy, the percentage of homeowner votes needed to change it, how the Board and management team plan to enforce the new policy and other relevant issues.
This information should be communicated in an informational meeting, which allows you to address their questions and concerns immediately, or you can send the information via email, newsletter or special notice. Go one step further by providing helpful articles about the health and financial benefits of quitting smoking, along with resources to help your smoking residents kick the habit. When communicating the information to your residents, remember to emphasize that no-smoking policies address more than health and lifestyle concerns; they also benefit residents from a safety standpoint, and may also lower insurance premiums too.
If you are trying to obtain LEED certification, a no-smoking policy may help you achieve that more quickly. The US Green Building Council (USGBC), which is responsible for assigning LEED Certification, has emphasized the importance of controlling environmental tobacco smoke as a prerequisite for certification, in both new construction and existing building operations and maintenance. In fact, controlling environmental tobacco smoke is considered so critical by the USGBC that it is weighted more heavily as a credit toward LEED certification than several other issues.
Some data shows that, beyond the health benefits to residents, going smoke-free protects ventilation equipment, wall treatments, carpets and valuables in the same building. If going smoke-free can enhance the quality of life of residents while also increasing the value and desirability of your community, it is definitely something your association should consider. For more information on going smoke-free, visit FirstService Residential, Georgia’s community association management leader.