Action on smoking and health (ASH) is a charity currently embarking on a 'smoke free housing' campaign with a view to reducing harm from smoking in the home. The charity exists to prevent harm caused by smoking and works very closely with Public Health England. It previously championed the ban of smoking on cars and is now setting its sights in the home.

 

Not only are there the evident health risks but also there are significant fire safety dangers that are often overlooked. London fire brigade has stated that 26.1% of fire deaths are smoking related and 6.3% of all fires are also smoking related. People are four times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there is no smoke alarm fitted which demonstrates why fitting and maintaining smoke alarms in all properties is so important.

 

Of all tenures, the private rented sector has the smallest number of smokers, this corresponds with many private sector landlords and the agents acting for them including clauses within the tenancy agreements banning smoking inside the property.

 

ARLA property mark members have access to Assured shorthold tenancy agreements that contain wording to prohibit this. Almost 94% of ARLA members (letting agents) state that their own tenancy agreements include non-smoking clauses.

 

Often social tenancies are not prohibited from smoking in their rental property which likely contributes to this tenure type having the largest proportion of smokers.

 

There are approx. 1 million more smokers that are owner occupiers than private renters, leading to some government representatives looking at mandatory requirements for smoke alarms to be necessary in all homes, regardless of tenure.

 

Will smoke free housing be a possibility. Probably not if you are a home owner, as your little piece of England is yours to do with what you please (for now!) but if legislation does come into play it could certainly mean changes, maybe for the better?

 

source - Propertymark property professional magazine Issue 30