Landlords of Multifamily Dwellings Must Disclose Smoking Policy in Writing

September 19, 2016Articles In the Zone

On June 25, 2016, a new ordinance affecting landlords in Philadelphia went into effect. Pursuant to Section 9-805 of the Philadelphia Code, landlords of multifamily buildings who enter into or renew a lease for a residential dwelling unit shall disclose in writing to the tenant the building’s policy on smoking in individual dwelling units. The disclosure must be made part of the lease and shall state whether smoking is prohibited in all dwelling units, permitted in all dwelling units or permitted in some dwelling units. If smoking is permitted in some dwelling units, the lease shall identify the units where smoking is permitted. 

Under current Philadelphia ordinances, landlords are required to obtain a housing license for residential dwelling units. Landlords are also required to provide tenants with a certificate of rental suitability. On certain occasions, the Philadelphia Municipal Court has refused to enter a judgment against a tenant for failure to pay rent if the landlord was not in compliance with the foregoing requirements during the time of the lease.

It is likely that the Philadelphia Municipal Court would view the requirement to notify tenants of the building’s smoking policy the same way. Therefore, it is important for landlords to ensure that they properly notify their tenants, and potential tenants, of the building’s smoking policy in order to avoid any potential for losing the right to obtain a judgment against a tenant in default.