Save Money, Save Your Building
Going smoke-free saves you money and helps save
your building. Here are some
Savings. One paint
contractor estimated that to paint a one-bedroom apartment of a smoker could
cost $800-900, almost double that of painting a nonsmoker’s apartment. However, the cost of removing
tobacco smoke from carpets, cabinetry, furniture, etc. could be much higher. Black Label
Restoration in Colorado Springs estimates that the average cost for an
entire cleaning due to the damage caused by smoking in a two-bedroom,
two-bathroom apartment can run $9,500 to $15,000. In addition, if apartment
units are furnished, creating a smoke-free environment will also reduce the
wear and tear on the furniture. Robert Couch, president of Virginia-based
Centrum Management says a smoker's unit costs $800 to $2,000 more to clean when
the tenant vacates. In September 2006, his company banned smoking in more than
5,000 units in six states. Couch also says his company has had no problems
enforcing the policy. When the Marriott Hotels became smoke-free, they
experienced a 30% reduction in energy use for their air treatment systems.
- Risk of Fire. Nationally, smoking was the cause of 9% of
smoking apartment fires. Of
the property completely destroyed in 2002, an estimated $6.055 billion
occurred in residential structures, an estimated $9.26 million of which
occurred in apartments (NFPA Fire Analysis and Research, Fire Loss in the
U.S. During 2002).
- Improved Resale Opportunities. Recent research suggests that smoke-free
apartment buildings may have increased re-sale value, should you ever
decide to sell your building.
Agents who have assisted people selling or shopping for everything
from starter-home Capes to Victorian mansions, agree: as the number of
public places in which a person can smoke has shrunk, so has the number of
home buyers who are even willing to consider a house with smoking in its
past (New York Times, “Real
Estate & Secondhand Smoke: On Tobacco Road, It’s a Tougher Sell,”
February 8, 2004).
Insurance agencies report
that some insurers, although not necessarily all, give a credit or premium
reduction for either or both the landlord or renter on their property/liability
insurance if they do not allow smoking in their apartment building (landlord)
or their apartment (renter).
Why not discuss obtaining
such premium reductions with your insurance agent? Among the possibilities are the following:
- Check with you insurer to determine whether your
current policy includes a penalty (explicit or hidden) if you don’t
presently have a smoke-free policy in your tenant’s leases.
- Seek a “credit” for having a smoke-free apartment
policy, since some insurers automatically add a “debit” to the premium
unless they are shown that leases for the apartment building require all
apartments to be smoke-free.
One insurance agent stated that she had seen credits of as much as
5% to 10% of the premium.
- Seek a premium reduction since some insurers may
have dropped a number of “premium perks” due to unrelated losses in the
insurance business. Since the
smoke-free apartment some insurers may have dropped credit “perk”, but not
others, you should negotiate for its being included, inasmuch smoker-free
apartment policies reduce the likelihood of fires and other
An Important Benefit
• Market Niche. Nearly 83% of all
adults in Colorado do not smoke according to the Colorado Department of Health.
after survey across the United States indicate that most residents in the
rental market would prefer a non-smoking building, want to avoid living next to
a smoker, and would pay extra rent for smoke-free living. Surveys indicate that low-income
residents also prefer smoke-free housing.
- Hundreds of multi-unit residential buildings in
Colorado are now smoke-free and the number is increasing monthly. Many of these communities also
prohibit smoking on the entire grounds. Visit http://www.mysmokefreehousing.com
for the most up-to-date list.
Information adapted from www.mismokefreeapartment.org, www.mysmokefreehousing.org and