Landlords Smoke-Free Policy, Snuff Cigarettes
Apartment leases that used to ban just kids, or pets or both, — with no ifs, ands or buts — are adding “no butts” to the rules. Three Sixty Real Estate Solutions in La Crosse is the most recent to prohibit smoking in a policy that will start June 1 in three of its apartment buildings in La Crosse. Three Sixty’s announcement, coming coincidentally during the same week as the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout today, said the apartments are near the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Western Technical College and Viterbo University campuses.
The trend toward no-smoking rules started about five years ago, said Pamela Strittmater, president of the Apartment Association of the La Crosse Area, which has 50 members with properties ranging from duplexes to 500-apartment complexes.
About 75 percent of the association’s members ban smoking for three main reasons: health, fire danger and maintenance, Stritt-mater said. Some even ban candles because of the soot and fire danger, she said.
“Other residents complain about smoke,” she said, “and smoke residue is very difficult to clean and paint.”
Similarly, Three Sixty, a major property owner with about 400 apartment units in La Crosse County, cited customer demand and maintenance costs for the new policy.
“We want our apartment buildings to be a home all residents will enjoy,” said Mike Alesch, Three Sixty’s residential operations director.
Three Sixty plans to gauge interest in smoking bans in other buildings with a voluntary lease addendum that would include a lower security deposit as an incentive for residents who opt to go smoke free.
“Smoky air from a neighbor’s unit creates a negative living environment for others living in the building,” Alesch said.
Echoing that sentiment is Paula Silha, a health educator with the La Crosse County Health Department, which is using a federal grant to help landlords launch smoke-free policies.