Smoke-Free Housing: For Tenants

This is a resource for tenants who are suffering from second-hand smoke coming into their homes from neighbouring units, or who are looking for a smoke-free, multi-unit building.

Why choose smoke-free housing?

What rights do you have as a renter?

While provincial laws provide Nova Scotians with protection from second-hand smoke where they work, eat, and play, many people are still being exposed to unwanted second-hand smoke where they live.

The Smoke-Free Places Act in Nova Scotia prohibits smoking in the common area of a multi-unit residential building, not limited to corridors, lobbies, stairwells, elevators, escalators, eating areas, washrooms and restrooms.

If you rent, it’s possible you have been bothered by the smell of tobacco smoke coming from a neighbouring unit or patio. A NS survey of multi-unit dwellers (2008) found that:

  • 29% reported exposure to second-hand smoke, most often from open windows, patio and balcony doors, or from the hallway.
  • Nearly 4 in 5 were bothered by the smoke, 35% quite a bit and 10% so much they considered moving.
  • 62% supported a ban on smoking in the building, and 35% would prefer a building that does not allow smoking in units and on decks, balconies and patios. Another 29% preferred smoke-free units but smoking allowed on balconies and patios.
  • 73% were at least somewhat likely to choose a non-smoking building, including 37% of people who smoke.

You can search our Smoke-Free Housing Registry to find smoke-free rental buildings.

Resources for tenants

Interference with Occupancy

Sample Complaint Letter

Sample Petition

Sample Physician Letter

Sample Tenant Log

Second-Hand Smoke

Smoke-Free Housing: A Review of the Evidence

Tenant Common Questions

Tenant How-to Guide

Tenant Laws and Legal Issues

Tenant Survey

Ventilation Myths