A Smoke-Free Rental Property: Is It Possible to Prohibit Smoking in Your Rental Property?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), secondhand smoke is a carcinogen that causes approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths each year in U.S. nonsmokers. Children are even more susceptible to the effects of secondhand smoke because they are still developing. Those that are exposed to high levels of the carcinogen have the greatest chance of developing asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis and middle ear infections. These discoveries have prompted a growing number of renters to seek out smoke-free housing, so as to prevent the health risks of secondhand smoke. But is the increasing demand profitable enough for landlords to turn their rental properties into non-smoking zones, and is the conversion so difficult as to not be worth the profit? These are questions that need to be considered before taking any such action.
A basic definition of smoke-free housing, according to David Sacks, a partner with…

Renting to Immigrants: The Laws Affecting Landlords and Undocumented Immigrants

According to the Department of Homeland Security, in 2008, there were 1,107,126 documented immigrants in the U.S. The agency also estimated that the number of unauthorized immigrants residing here totaled 11.6 million. On the surface this would seem to represent a burgeoning housing market of which landlords would want to take advantage. However, tapping into this market is not without its difficulties.

The problems associated with renting to non-U.S. citizens are compounded by the dichotomy between federal and state law, says Professor Michael Seng, Director of the Fair Housing Legal Clinic at the John Marshall Law School. The federal government makes no distinction between a legal or illegal immigrant, so renting to a foreign national is subject to the same standards as renting to a U.S. citizen. The difficulty arises on the state level if you live in a municipality that has made it an offense to rent to an undocumented immigrant. In some of these jurisdictions renting to an illegal "alien" is punishable by the imposition of a fine, but in others renting to unauthorized immigrants is a criminal offense.