Apr 102013
 
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There are many reasons that someone might not get a job. Maybe they didn’t have the proper skill set. Maybe someone more qualified who would accept less money also interviewed. Maybe the applicant showed up to the interview without his pants. But now, someone might not get the job because they’re a smoker. Apparently, many companies are opting not to hire smokers, citing the fact that it raises insurance costs, and that health incentives and even bribery to quit smoking haven’t been working. The interviewer might just ask the interviewee if he is a smoker, and then dismiss him automatically if he admits it. A ha! I’m sure you’re thinking. I‘ll just lie about it if I’m ever in the position. But, some companies are on to that game, and are requiring drug tests that screen for nicotine. (So I guess if you don’t smoke, but you chew tobacco, you’d be out, too. Wait, is chewing tobacco still a thing?)

So, now that some employers are doing it, could the multifamily industry be far behind?

When it comes to smoking in apartments, people get really fired up (people get addicted to arguing? the whole thing could go up in smoke? no one wants to patch things up? Sorry, coming up with a smoking pun is harder than it looks). Most owners and property managers would probably prefer their residents to be non-smokers, because cigarette smoke could leave a lingering odor and possibly bother other residents. Plus there’s always the possibility of a fire. If property managers starting doing these tests, they could guarantee that at least the person signing the lease wasn’t a smoker in their smoke-free building.

However, residents also have some expectations of privacy. And even non-smokers would probably be resentful of a drug test that searches for nicotine. What’s next, a full body scan like they have at the airport? (And we all know how understanding people are about those…) Plus, just because the person signing on the dotted line isn’t a smoker, it doesn’t mean grandpa or the surly teen who also will live in the unit isn’t Joe Camel in disguise.

What do you think about [smoke] screening out the smokers from your potential renters? (Yes! Finally nailed that smoking pun!)

-Jessica Fiur, News Editor

Photo credit: style-photography.de

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  5 Responses to “‘What Renters Want’ with Jessica Fiur: Employers Can Choose to Not Hire Smokers–Is the Multifamily Industry Next?”

  1. We have converted several dozen apartment communities to smoke-free housing. The vast majority of our residents appreciate the change, including many of those who smoke. We offer smoking stations in various ourdoor locations around each property but smoking is otherwise prohibited at the community. The process to convert each community takes about eighteen months. We start with survey of our residents to make certain it is something they want and we provide plenty of notice to everyone before the phase in process begins. New and renewing leases will then contain the smoke-free housing provisions. Verbal and written warnings are given for any violations before financial penalties begin.

    Please note that we welcome smokers as residents. Our restriction applies to the smoke, not the person who smokes. They are just restricted from smoking on the porperty except in designated smoking areas. A large number of smokers have no problem with the restriction.

  2. Ruined carpet, drywall that is soaked with nicotine and can’t be masked with multiple prime and paint jobs, cabinets dripping with stalagite type nicotine buildup.
    Employees that need their smoke break on our time and patrons having to breath their nicotine breath.
    Who needs that.

    We converted years ago to smokefree way before the new great trend. And did we get alot of heat because people thought it violated their rights. We still ahead of the curve because we have banned outdoor BBQ’s. Do you want your residence filled with BBQ fumes because the neighbor is BBqing.

    Yes life is too filled with rules, but I don’t want to breath your awful cigarette smoke either!

  3. Opps
    Stalactites is correct spelling in our previous comment.

  4. This resident debate has been going on 15 or more years. Best solution is non smoking buildings. And Scott suggests outdoor locations (which will be labeled Butt Huts ;-) But what about pouring rain and icy snowy days? Will they really comply? The on site staff has to become the ‘police’ And if there is non compliance, do we fine them, evict them? Very sticky situation. And I am all for not hiring smokers…sorry users of nicotine. I see more people standing around outside, many times a day, smoking. How productive can they really be? Also the insurance and health issues are huge. I love everyone, smokers and non smokers…however I am allergic, so prejudiced. My solution? BAN IT FROM the PLANET. Feds will never let go the tax money…but we could grow healthy food instead. Trust me, non smoking neighbors will rebel, big time, sooner or later.

  5. Our apartments had smoke detectors and will not allow tenants to smoke indoors. As a non smoker I’m grateful to that as no amount of deep cleaning can really get the stench of cigarettes out of an apartment. You have to paint and change the carpets to get rid of the smell, and most apartment companies are not willing to do that between each tenant. The down side to the smoking outdoors is that smoke is drifting off the porches down to where the kids play, and I don’t like that either.

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