Is affordable housing smoke-free? Maybe

Dear Johnnie: I moved here from out of state looking for an apartment that was low-rent, senior and smoke-free. I found the ideal place in Longmont. I was assured that it was smoke-free, which was a top priority for me due to allergies.

It took most of my savings to make the move here, and I love my apartment, but it is not smoke-free. It is supposed to be regulated by HUD, but nothing is being done about the smokers. The smoke is very strong in the hallways and in my room. Some other renters have the same problem and say it is useless to complain as nothing can be one. Is this true?

I cannot afford to move again because of health issues, and I have no money left. I’d appreciate if you can help me find out. At $5 a pack for cigarettes, I don’t think it’s fair for these smokers to get a break on rent while I and others have to smell their habit. — Gasping

Dear Gasping: This, in part, depends on who assured you that the apartment was smoke-free and what that person meant by it. If the manager of the complex assured you that the building was smoke-free, then you have good reason to complain.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development encourages landlords to make their properties smoke-free, but there is no requirement that affordable housing be smoke-free. That’s up to the property owner.

I spoke with Michael Reis, director of the Longmont Housing Authority. He told me that buildings owned or operated by LHA or the Longmont Housing Development Corp. are — or at least should be — smoke-free. So, if you are in an LHA or LHDC property, contact the site management, he said. “Everybody is made aware of the rules upon move-in, and we enforce it.”

However, Reis told me, there are dozens of affordable-housing landlords in town. So without knowing where you live, it’s impossible to know what the rules are for your complex.

So, I recommend that you find out who owns the property you live in, and contact the manager, despite those who say it’s useless to do so. If it is a Longmont Housing property, call Hudson Real Estate at 303-442-6380.

By the way, Reis said residents are allowed to smoke outside the buildings.

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