Step 4: Implementing your smoke-free policy

Once you know exactly what you want out of your smoke-free policy and have a sense of what you are dealing with, it’s time to make the transition. This will involve planning clear communication as you get lease addenda signed and put the policy in place.

A smoke-free policy should be added as a new clause in your tenancy agreement for all new and renewing tenants, and should also be presented as an addendum for existing tenants to sign. Consider asking your tenants to initial the smoke-free clause when they sign the agreement. If you must enforce your policy, this measure will make it hard for them to claim they were not aware of the policy.

Aim to get the policy signed by as many tenants in the building as possible. If you are planning to enforce the policy as a matter of covenant, even with those tenants who have not signed a new tenancy agreement, notify those who have not signed the policy that they are still bound by it, and that you will be actively enforcing it.

If your policy will be implemented in phases, clearly communicate the timelines and ultimate scope of the policy to current and prospective tenants. If your policy includes an exemption clause, inform prospective residents that:

  1. there are tenants who have been exempted from the policy and are permitted to smoke in the building, and you can’t guarantee a completely smoke-free environment until the transition is complete. Be sure to explain why an exemption of certain tenants was chosen.

  2. while smoking is permitted in exempted units, complaints of second-hand smoke will still be addressed if it is found that a significant amount of smoke is infiltrating their homes. If there are significant complaints, you will likely have to implement mitigation efforts.

Download a sample letter to notify tenants about the new policy.

Spread the word about your smoke-free policy anywhere you currently list information about your properties.


  • your application form
  • your website
  • your portfolio in third-party directories
  • other marketing and advertising materials

Remember to register your smoke-free property in our online directory!

Support for smokers

Demonstrating support for tenants who smoke builds goodwill when implementing a smoke-free policy. While the purpose of going smoke-free is primarily to protect your property and residents, there may be people who would like information about quitting, or who will want to cut back on the amount they smoke to make compliance with the policy easier.

There may be an opportunity to partner with a local public health organization to provide cessation resources and services. Contact Alberta Health Services to find out about cessation resources in your community and then post information in common areas, such as a laundry room. Let all your residents know that there is support available to help them quit or cut back if any of them are interested.

Check out and for local cessation tools and resources.


Develop and post signs about your smoke-free policy. Signage will serve as a reminder for tenants, and indicate to guests and service people that the building and/or area is smoke-free. Signs should be posted at all public entrances to the smoke-free buildings, and can also be posted at elevators, on unit doors, in common areas and throughout the grounds to clearly indicate where smoking is and isn’t allowed.

Download a sample no-smoking sign.

Don’t send mixed messages. Remove ashtrays except those in designated smoking areas.

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