After receiving great feedback from tenants, Macro Properties has decided to ban smoking in all of its buildings, starting in North Battleford.
Tenants renting from Macro Properties in North Battleford received notice that as of May 1, 2018, all smoking of any kind will be prohibited, including on balconies. Macro owns apartments in several Saskatchewan communities, including several in Prince Albert and 16 in North Battleford. The company converted five buildings in North Battleford to non-smoking four years ago, and another two years ago.
The notice defines smoking as inhaling, exhaling, breathing, vaping and possession of any lighted product, cigarette, cigar, pipe or product containing tobacco, cannabis or any similar lighted product. Under the new rules, smokers will now have to partake outside, at least three metres from any entrance.
According to property manager Ramona Maraj, the tenant feedback was excellent.
“These buildings are very popular, and they quickly get leased and have a high retention rate,” Maraj said. “Over the years, the majority of the tenant feedback from both smokers and non-smokers has consistently been that non-smoking buildings are much more attractive to live in, especially for tenants with young families.”
The feedback led Macro to change their buildings to 100 per cent non-smoking, with North Battleford leading the way.
Maraj said she wasn’t sure how tenants in town would react to the ban, but they all seem to be on board.
“Our office has been swamped with calls from the majority of the tenants who are thrilled with our initiative," Maraj said. “What surprises us is that it’s some of the smokers who have come forward with positive outlook. Who knew?”
Maraj said there were two key factors which drove the change. First was second-hand smoke and the health issues it can cause.
“We, as a society, acknowledge that there are adverse health risks associated with exposure to second-hand smoke. With older apartment buildings in Canada, which includes all of our buildings in North Battleford, smoke and smell are easily transmitted through hallways between units. This disturbs others who do not partake in smoking.”
The other reason was the amount of money the company has to spend to clean and repair units that have been exposed to smoke. According to Maraj, Macro spends $2,000 to $6,000 per apartment, depending on the severity of the damage.
Maraj said buildings will be monitored for compliance, but hopes the tenants will help out.
“Our staff will be checking all buildings to ensure that these new rules are followed," she said. "We have a feeling, based on positive response so far, that our own tenants will report people who are not respecting their neighbours.”
The property manager said she hopes everyone will abide by the rules, but those who don’t will be issued reminders, warnings and could be asked to leave.
“We would give notice and enough time for them to find somewhere else," she said. "We have to try to get everybody onboard and if they’re not then this just might not be the best place for them.”
Maraj noted there are a couple of buildings in North Battleford that still allow smoking inside units, and Macro can’t force them to stop now. Those apartments will have to be grandfathered in, she said, and the company will inform any new tenants that though they are not allowed to smoke, they may have some neighbors who can.
Her hope is that even those who are still technically allowed to smoke will respect everyone else in the building and smoke outside.
On Twitter @realgreghiggins
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