Smokers find NYC rental search even more difficult

Some landlords use smoke-friendliness as a selling point

TRD New York /
May.May 22, 2012 10:00 AM

Smokers looking for an apartment rental that doesn’t require them to leave the comfort of their unit to enjoy a cigarette are finding fewer and fewer options. A recent search conducted by the New York Times found just four apartments in the five boroughs that advertise that smoking is permitted.

Ahead of legislation introduced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg that would require property owners to disclose their smoking policy, many landlords are banning the practice as it doesn’t affect demand in the tight rental market and alleviates headaches — including stenches, neighbor complaints and possible fire damages — that come with the habit.

At the same time, many renters simply choose not to search for that particular criteria and instead keep their affinity for a smoke more discreet. They smoke on balconies, roofs, the sidewalk or into an open window. With more landlords, and even co-op and condominium boards, prohibiting the practice, those who swim against the current and specifically target that subset of renters are finding some success.

“When I post that smoking is allowed, I get more calls, I can tell you that,” said Lori Alvarez, a smoker, a landlord and an agent at Joanne Costa Realty. [NYT]

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