Smoke-Free Homes & Cars
Smoke-free Apartments & Condos:
Is it legal for a landlord or property manager to prohibit or restrict smoking?
Yes, it is legal to restrict or eliminate smoking in individual units and common areas of multi-housing developments.
Landlords have legal rights to set limits on how a tenant may use a rental property. For example, they may decide whether tenants are allowed to have pets and the hours the pool is open. A “no smoking” policy is similar to a “no pet” restriction in the lease or pool hours in the common area.
It is important to note that a landlord is not unlawfully discriminating against smoking tenants or violating a smoker’s fundamental right to privacy when banning smoking in common areas or individual units. Claims to the contrary have no legal basis (Technical Assistance Legal Center [TALC], 2009).
There is no law that prohibits designating areas or individual apartment homes as smoke-free (NRS 202, 118, and 207). People who smoke are not protected by state or federal anti-discrimination laws, nor are they considered disabled under state or federal disability rights laws (Task Force for Smoke-free Housing, CA). An argument commonly heard is that an individual has a “right to smoke”- when in fact, there is no constitutional or other legal right to smoke (Tobacco Control Legal Consortium [TCLC], 2005).
As a tenant, what can you do if you have unwanted tobacco smoke in your apartment or condo?
Secondhand smoke seeping into apartments or condominiums from neighboring units is a common problem because of shared ventilation between housing units and inadequate door and window insulation. Unfortunately, there are no fail-proof solutions to this problem.
In Nevada, because apartments and condominiums qualify as personal residences, they are exempt from any smoking restrictions under the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act. And nationally, the record of resolving such conflicts in the courts is somewhat mixed.
According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, nonsmokers have filed lawsuits against landlords and other tenants on the basis of nuisance, breach of statutory duty to keep the premises habitable, breach of the common law covenant of peaceful enjoyment, negligence, harassment, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress; courts have ruled for and against nonsmokers in individual cases.
However, there are many actions you can take to protect yourself from secondhand smoke.
Are their smoke-free apartment options in Las Vegas?
Many landlords and property managers in Clark County have begun to acknowledge the growing demand for smoke-free living, considering only 18 percent of Nevada’s adult population smokes (CDC, 2012).
When looking for a smoke-free apartment, remember to ask the landlord or property manager about smoke-free policies and/or smoke-free living options. Some properties in Southern Nevada have entire buildings designated as smoke-free.
Visit the Smoke-Free Housing Directory for a list of smoke-free apartments and condominiums in Clark County.
Resources for Tenants of Apartments