HUD Releases Guidance on Smoke-Free Rule

On February 15, HUD Released Notice PIH-2017-03 “HUD Guidance on Instituting and Enforcing Smoke-Free Public Housing Policies.” The Notice provides regulatory guidance to PHAs regarding the implementation of the “Instituting Smoke-Free Public Housing(members only) Final Rule, issued in December, 2016. PHAs have 18 months after the effective date of the final rule to implement smoke-free policies. The effective date has currently been pushed back due to the Administration’s regulatory freeze.

The Notice describes required PHA plan and lease amendments, flexibilities afforded to PHAs while creating their smoke-free policy, signage requirements, funding, and designated smoking areas. The Notice further discusses tools that PHAs may use to enforce and monitor their smoke-free policies. These include graduated enforcement approaches, intensified compliance monitoring, lease terminations or transfers, and evictions.

The final rule also requires PHAs to provide reasonable accommodation when needed. Although reasonable accommodation cannot include allowing an individual to smoke in a restricted area, reasonable accommodations can be made if individuals have trouble accessing designated smoking areas. Reasonable accommodations must be made on a case-by-case basis.

Lastly, the Notice encourages PHAs to work closely with residents in the development on the smoke-free policies, and provides resources for best practices, smoking cessation, and PHA and resident training.

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