For Tenants

Tenants’ Guide to Going Smoke-Free (PDF) Secondhand smoke is not just a nuisance. It’s a health hazard, and it is dangerous. But there are things you can do. Report smoking in common areas:

  • Under Massachusetts state law, smoking is prohibited in the common areas of any multi-unit building that has one or more employee. For more information or to file a complaint, contact the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program at 1-800-992-1895 or 1-617-624-5116.

Talk to your landlord about implementing a smoke-free policy in your building:

  • A packet of information that you can give to your landlord is available in the Resources section of this site.
  • Smoke-free policies are 100% legal. Just like landlords can prohibit pets, they can prohibit smoking.
  • Smoke-free policies are not discriminatory. Smokers are not a protected class. There is no right to smoke!
  • Landlords can still rent to smokers, so long as the tenant follows the smoke-free policy.

For people with disabilties, find out if you have legal protection from secondhand smoke:

  • Tenants who have qualifying disabilities may have legal protection from secondhand smoke under the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act. For more information on how the Fair Housing Act applies, read an analysis (PDF) provided by the Smoke-Free Environments Law Project

Take legal action:

  • Legal remedies may be available. There are ways tenants can bring legal action under what is called “common law” against a landlord or against tenants who smoke. These theories include: breach of covenant of quiet enjoyment, negligence, nuisance, breach of warranty of habitability, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, trespass, and constructive eviction. Pursuing these remedies can be costly and time-consuming.