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Council supports smoke-free social housing

In its first meeting for 2014, Christchurch City Council today approved a non-smoking policy for Council-owned social housing units.

The policy specifies that, where new units are built or purchased — or where units are remodelled or redecorated — tenancy agreements contain a non-smoking clause.

Smoking will only be permitted on external porches, with appropriate windows and doors closed to prevent cigarette smoke from entering the unit.

Existing tenants who currently smoke inside their units are permitted to continue smoking indoors. However, subsequent tenancies will be subject to the non-smoking clause.

Council Housing Committee Chair Glenn Livingstone says the policy is aligned with the Council’s Social Housing Strategy, as well as the Government’s long-term goal of a smoke-free New Zealand.

“The Council is committed to meeting its social housing tenants’ needs and providing healthy living opportunities for them. Today’s decision reflects that commitment and, furthermore, marks a step by the Council towards achieving the Government’s goal of a smoke-free New Zealand by 2025.”

The decision will also see Council staff working with Smokefree Canterbury and other health providers to ensure that tenants who smoke are supported to become smoke-free.

Existing tenants who smoke and occupy units that require remodelling or redecoration will be advised of the new policy. Council staff will request that their existing tenancy agreements be amended to include the non-smoking clause, or provide notice of the change of condition in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act (1986).

Cr Livingstone says the non-smoking policy will also mean less money spent on housing maintenance in the future.

“From a financial perspective, the effects of nicotine staining on walls, ceilings and furnishings are significant.

“Between tenancies, it’s often necessary to re-paint nicotine-stained surfaces rather than arrange commercial cleaning. Redecorating a bed-sit, for example, equates to more than five times the cost of cleaning it," he says.


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