Multifamily Smoke-Free Policy Deadline For Public Housing

Group Says Multifamily Should Ban Smoking Inside and Near Buildings

Implementing a multifamily smoke-free policy is recommended by HUD so the Grace Hill training tip of the week focuses on helpful ways to do this in your property.

By Ellen Clark

All public housing agencies must have a multifamily smoke-free policy in place by July 31, 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rule based on a rule passed in late 2016.

HUD had allowed time for implementation of the smoke-free policy and this rule now applies to all public housing except dwelling units in mixed-finance buildings.

While the rule applies to public housing agencies, HUD strongly encourages all multifamily housing owners and agents to implement smoke-free policies in all their properties.

Recap of the HUD multifamily smoke-free policy 

Here’s a recap of the rule and helpful resources about implementing a multifamily smoke-free policy.

    • The rule says that each public housing agency must implement a smoke-free policy banning the use of prohibited tobacco products in all living units, indoor common areas, administrative office buildings, and outdoor areas within 25 feet of any building on public housing grounds.
    • Note that the rule does not prohibit residents of PHAs from smoking.
    • Public housing agencies can establish outdoor designated smoking areas beyond the required 25 feet perimeter to accommodate residents who smoke.
    • Agencies may also establish additional smoke-free locations, or they can even make their entire grounds smoke-free.

While this rule applies to public housing (except dwelling units in mixed-finance buildings), the materials that HUD has assembled to help agencies comply with this rule may be very helpful to any community that is thinking about, or in some stage of implementing, a smoke-free policy.

More rental properties adopting smoke-free policies

More and more rental properties across the country are adopting smoke-free policies with the goal of improving air quality, reducing the risk of fire, and lowering maintenance costs.

If you are one of those properties, here are some great resources HUD has put together to help public housing agencies implement multifamily smoke-free policies that may also be helpful to you:

    • Review all your resources when setting up your smoke-free policy


Implementing HUD’s Smoke-Free Policy in Public Housing includes strategies for communicating with residents, examples of smoke-free policies and enforcement plans, tips for training staff, helpful information for launching a smoke-free policy, and guidance on responding to requests for accommodation.


There is more available on the Healthy Homes section of HUD’s website. Take some time to look around – there’s lots of good stuff out there!


Recent Grace Hill training tips you may have missed:

What Do You Do When Assistance Animals Break The Rules?

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5 Ways To Protect Applicants, Residents And Employees From Sexual Harassment

Do You Have A Smoke-Free Policy That Adequately Protects Residents?

How To Handle Suspicious Documentation For Assistance Animals

How A No Pet Policy Can Be Discriminatory

Property Management Cyberattack Risks Overlooked, Underestimated

Do You Know How To Respond To a Sexual Harassment Complaint?

Have You Reviewed Your Criminal Background Checks Policy Lately?


Multifamily Managers And Marijuana: Caught In A Pot Crossfire

Fair Housing Discrimination Against Someone You’ve Never Talked To?

4 Ways To Avoid Screening Pitfalls With Applicants


About the author:

Ellen Clark is the Director of Assessment at Grace Hill.  Her work has spanned the entire learner lifecycle, from elementary school through professional education. She spent over 10 years working with K12 Inc.’s network of online charter schools – measuring learning, developing learning improvement plans using evidence-based strategies, and conducting learning studies. Later, at Kaplan Inc., she worked in the vocational education and job training divisions, improving online, blended and face-to-face training programs, and working directly with business leadership and trainers to improve learner outcomes and job performance. Ellen lives and works in Maryland, where she was born and raised.

About Grace Hill

For nearly two decades, Grace Hill has been developing best-in-class online training courseware and administration solely for the Property Management Industry, designed to help people, teams and companies improve performance and reduce risk.