The DC area has seen an expansion of apartment buildings that have instituted a strict no-smoking policy, a rule that extends to the units themselves. The practice has proven to be a popular one, as a number of management firms plan to expand the policy in the area.
One of the pioneers of this practice was 220 20th Street, the first apartment building in Northern Virginia to implement a no-smoking policy when it opened in June 2009. According to Mara Olguin of Vornado/Charles E. Smith, it was essential for 220 20th Street, which has a number of green elements, to “walk the walk” in their approach to environmentally-friendly living.
Another new building getting involved in the non-smoking movement is 425 Mass, which saw its first move-in on April 24th. You might recognize this address as it is that of The Dumont, the failed condo project in Mount Vernon Square that recently converted to rentals after being purchased by Equity Residential. Equity Residential’s Bobbie Pollard cited the District’s leading role in banning smoking from bars and restaurants as one of the reasons for implementing the rule, and she described the likely renters as “young and aware of the environment.”
Renters appear to be embracing the practice. As of May 6th, 50 units had been leased at 425 Mass, and “not one person” has been upset about the no-smoking policy, according to Pollard. On an initial resident survey of Millennium at Metropolitan Park, another smoke-free apartment building in Northern Virginia, 71 percent of the participants responded that the building’s policy “strongly influenced” their decision to rent an apartment there. Karen Kossow of Kettler, which manages the building, noted that the Millennium’s no-smoking policy has been very successful and the repercussions of disobeying it quite serious: renters can be evicted if caught smoking anywhere inside the building, and are made aware of this on the initial rental application form. Such measures do not appear to be necessary, as many renters so far see the policy as a draw. Gina Spychalla, 29, has lived at The Millenium since March, and says that compared to other buildings she has lived in, she can “feel the difference in air quality” and that the building’s no-smoking rule was one of the main attractions to living in at The Millenium.
Some management companies plan to expand the practice. Kossow believes that non-smoking apartment buildings are part of a larger trend, and Kettler has extended this rule to other area projects including The Metropolitan at Village at Leesburg. The policy will also be implemented at a future property that Kettler will manage on Glebe Road. When UrbanTurf attended the November opening of View 14, the 184-unit luxury apartment building at the corner of 14th Street and Florida Avenue in the U Street Corridor, a View 14 rep said that the building was strongly considering a no-smoking policy (though management ultimately decided against it). Mara Olguin told UrbanTurf that the smoke-free apartment policy will be extended to future Vornado/Charles E. Smith projects because for now, “sustainability is on everyone’s mind.”
Depite its growing popularity, there are undoubtedly renters out there that feel as though this policy encroaches on their civil liberties. So with that in mind, would you live in a completely non-smoking building? Let us know in the comments.
This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/apartments_outlaw_smoking_--_even_within_the_units/2050
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