There are some standard questions you get while leasing in a community such as: What is the price? Are you pet friendly? What is the noise like? But one new question that is starting to become more and more common is “do you allow smoking?” For the longest time the answer to this question is yes, or whatever creative way you can you can think of to spin it, but this is slowly beginning to change. With an estimated four out of every five people in the U.S. identifying as “nonsmokers”, property owners are beginning to see a substantial advantage in becoming a smoke free community.
First consider how much you can save on turnover costs alone. No smoking means fewer replaced carpets, fewer coats of paint, and a quicker turnover time in general. So to begin with, eliminating smoking will more than likely improve your NOI. In addition, smoke travels through air ducts, and in the summer time through open upper level windows, which ultimately irritates and causes problems for nonsmokers. This is something that will inevitably merit complaints from residents, which can effectively hurt the image of the property. With everything there is to worry about as a property manager, the last thing you need is to continuously receive complaints about something you physically cannot stop.
Another point to consider is that being a nonsmoking community can be a selling point in itself. Sure, you will isolate yourself from smokers but remember, they make up only a fifth of your customer base. Not to mention the fact that being a nonsmoking community for a consumer that doesn’t smoke will more than likely be a very influential factor in getting them through the door. In all fairness, you do have to observe your market and customer base to make sure that this sort of change will be palatable, but in a society that is seeing a slow yet noticeable decline in the number of users, becoming smoke free can be a serious monetary booster.