Hunters Trace, a multiunit housing development in Clermont, is among six housing developments in Lake County that are going smoke-free.

The six residential properties in Lake County have agreed to implement smoke-free policies, joining a growing list of smoke-free properties in the Central Florida region, noted the Lake County Board of Commissioners.

In addition to Hunters Trace, the others are Lyn Terrace and The Iron Block in Eustis, the Lake Region Homes and Pepper Tree in Leesburg, and the  Villas of Mount Dora.

Kace Montgomery, property manager at The Iron Block, said they made the switch last year.

“As of March 1, 2013 The Iron Block enacted a 100 percent Smoke Free policy,” Montgomery said in a news release. “Since then the old tenants have adjusted without complaint and the new tenants appreciate that the apartments are smoke free.”

The change, Montgomery said, has been a success.

“Having a 100 percent Smoking free policy has not hurt my ability to lease out my apartments if anything it has made them more attractive,” Montgomery said.

Lake County commissioners noted that Florida now has more than 500 smoke-free multiunit housing properties and 73,000 smoke-free units, and that property managers and landlords are reporting that smoke-free policies can have economic benefits.

The county said state health estimates indicate that more than 80 percent of Floridians are non-smokers. As a result, a lot of properties have started marketing smoke-free policies as an amenity rather than a restriction, one that can save money by eliminating the need to repair or replace carpeting, floors, fixtures, countertops or appliances damaged by burns, casual smoke or nicotine stains. 

“At the end of a lease, smoke-free units require less turnover time due to fewer preparation and repainting needs,” Lake County commissioners noted in a news release. 

 The county also noted that tobacco smoke can “move along air ducts, through cracks in the walls and floors, through elevator shafts, and along plumbing and electrical lines affecting units that are nearby. Therefore, there are also numerous benefits for residents as tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, hundreds of which are toxic and at least 70 known to cause cancer. Exposure, even for short periods of time, can be dangerous.”

 “A home should be a safe place for everyone, especially for children, people with existing health conditions, and the elderly who are more vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke,” said Debbie Walter, Lake County’s tobacco policy coordinator. “By making sure that residential buildings are 100 percent smoke-free, property managers are protecting tenants from the dangers of toxic smoke and from the risk of deadly smoking-related fires.”

 

mwfreeman@sun-sentinel.com or 407-420-5290.