Is it right and is it possible to ban tenants from smoking in social housing accommodation?

I hate smoking. Always have.  Back in the late 1980s I was regarded as being completely unreasonable if I asked that just one colleague smoked at a time in a staff meeting held in a small room.  It was about individual freedom of choice, I was told, although no consideration was given to my freedom to choose not to work in a smoke-filled environment.

How things have changed.

However, the proposal from Professor John Middleton from the Faculty of Public Health, who has said that tenants moving into social housing should have a no smoking clause in their tenancy agreement. His intentions are very worthy – to protect children from second-hand smoke.

There will, inevitably, be the freedom of choice argument against Prof. Middleton’s proposal. There is also the legality.  Without primary legislation, I cannot see how such a clause in a tenancy agreement can be enforced.  Smoking might be disgusting, it might be anti-social, it might har, the smoker and those around them, it might be inconsiderate.  But it is not illegal to smoke …. Unfortunately.  Policing what a tenant does, beyond the legal terms of the tenancy agreement and the law, is not the role of landlords.

But good on Prof, Middleton for raising the debate.

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2 thoughts on “Is it right and is it possible to ban tenants from smoking in social housing accommodation?

  1. As a non-smoking housing association tenant I often felt slightly excluded from the regular meet ups of outside smoking of my neighbouring tenants.

    Just because I’ve seen all of them smoke outside, it doesn’t follow they 100% smoke outside but I’ve seen them in all weathers, day and night, so I’d be surprised if they were regularly smoking inside also.

    I think most tenants nowadays are educated to the dangers of smoking inside, in confined areas and have got into the habit of smoking outside.

    So I suppose I am making an argument for self-policing and how effective that can often be.

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