In 2010, Michigan enacted a tough anti-smoking law that banned smoking in bars, restaurants and many other public places. However, that law stopped short of addressing the issue of smoking in apartments and homes. A recent decision by an apartment complex in Ann Arbor will test those limits in the 2010 law with regards to landlord-tenant disagreements.

Parkway Meadows apartments recently posted signs on its property advising residents that it intends to become a smoke-free facility beginning at the beginning of April. The posted notices also advise tenants of a number to call if they wish to obtain assistance quitting smoking, but that they must be at least 25 feet away from their apartment to smoke.

At least one resident feels as though the rule that the apartment complex is putting into place is unfair. The 50-year-old man has lived at Parkway Meadows for 26 years and says that he received a newsletter saying the apartment complex will issue lease violation notices if people violate the rule prohibiting smoking inside the apartment. That resident says that he has smoked in his apartment for the previous 26 years and could not understand why it has only recently become an issue.

One theory posited by that same resident is that the apartment complex is attempting to discriminate against him and other low income residents by essentially leaving them with the choice of either becoming homeless or quitting smoking. The man says the apartment complex knows that many of their low income residents cannot afford to move so by banning smoking inside their apartments, they are essentially forcing the tenants to quit.

Tenants currently residing in other apartments facing similar situations will probably want to learn more about this law and how it affects them. Conversely, landlords may wish to make themselves more knowledgeable about what rights they have to enforce no smoking bans throughout their properties.

Source: WKRC Local 12, “Residents in Michigan apartment complex banned from smoking” Staff Writer (WWJ), Mar. 25, 2014

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