Q: We operate a fourplex and have decided to prohibit smoking entirely -- in common areas, such as the halls and lobby, as well as individual units. Current tenants who smoke say that's discriminatory. Would we be breaking the law if we implement this policy? --Ronald and Mai A: You're within your rights if you decide that you'd like your entire building to be smoke-free (but you need to follow notice laws, explained below). Local governing bodies are increasingly recognizing the danger of secondhand smoke, and have passed ordinances that prohibit smoking in multi-unit buildings. In 2009, the Department of Housing and Urban Development formally suggested that public housing agencies adopt smoke-free policies for the residential rentals they do business with. It's not uncommon for people who smoke to cry foul, pointing out that smoking is a lawful activity, and jumping to the illogical conclusion that it's therefore illegal for landlords to prohibit that activity. If this ...
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