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> Should smoking be banned in council homes?
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Brett-Butler
post May 8 2017, 05:59 PM
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An interesting new proposal from the Faculty of Public Health. From the BBC -

QUOTE
Smoking could be banned in some new council homes in a bid to protect the health of children, a UK public health expert has said.

Under the proposals, tenants would be asked to sign an agreement not to light up inside their home.

President of the Faculty of Public Health, Prof John Middleton, says some councils and housing associations are already exploring the smoke-free housing idea.

How would it work?
According to the professor, the agreement would be voluntary rather than mandatory, although it would be part of the tenancy contract for new family housing.
He says there would be tenants who would prefer to live in a non-smoking block, particularly if they have children.
Second-hand smoke harms children's lungs and has been linked to an increased risk of cot death in babies.
"We are not saying people can't smoke or that they have to give up smoking. The voluntary agreement would be that they have to smoke outside."

Who would it apply to?
It would be up to social landlords and housing associations to set the rules. Anyone living in the smoke-free building who signed up would then need to abide by the arrangements.
The US has decided to go a step further and insist all public housing agencies provide smoke-free environments for their residents by the end of July 2018
It will means no-one can smoke inside or within 25 feet of the homes.


So do you think this is a good idea? The positives are the obvious health benefits, particularly towards children, and it could encourage people to give up smoking for good. The negatives are the possibility of infringing civil liberties, plus that this ruling would disproportionally affect the poorest in society.

Would you support such a ban if it were to come into place?
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commonsense
post May 8 2017, 06:14 PM
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Daft idea and against our civil liberties. What next, banning drinking or insisting everyone puts ketchup in the fridge. This is not North Korea.
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Envoirment
post May 8 2017, 06:24 PM
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How would you enforce such a thing? I would support it if it were feasible. I dont think it'll do too much as most of the people who smoked on my old estate (and new one) smoke on the balcony. It would be great if something like this could help people quit smoking though.

This post has been edited by Envoirment: May 8 2017, 06:39 PM
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Qassändra
post May 8 2017, 06:35 PM
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Hmmmm. I'm not comfortable with this at all.
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Bairlas
post May 8 2017, 06:39 PM
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Im of the opinion that smoking should be banned full stop so I support this measure. Putting aside the health benefits and the benefits for children here for a second. Smoking in council owned properties costs councils a fortune at a time when their budgets are being squeezed. Properties where a tenant has smoked needs to be deep cleaned and the majority of the time they need new carpets and the walls stripped and repainted in order to remove the disgusting stench.

A lot of private landlords prohibit smoking in their contract for this reason. The University I worked at banned smoking in ta accommodation too on this basis. Why should a council have to pay to bring a property back up to standard because you wanted to give yourself cancer?

You are subject to inspection from your landlord often as part of your tenancy, I've been inspected twice since I've moved to Manchester and got inspected when I lived at the uni too. It's immediately obvious to a non-smoker that a home has been smoked in so actually it's very easy to detect and enforce.
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Bairlas
post May 8 2017, 06:41 PM
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QUOTE(Envoirment @ May 8 2017, 07:24 PM) *
How would you enforce such a thing? I would support it if it were feasible. I dont think it'll do too much as most of the people who smoked on my old estate (and new one) smoke on the balcony. It would be great if something like this could help people quit smoking though.

Balcony smoking wouldn't be impacted by what's proposed above if I've read that right as a balcony is technically outside The property rather than in an enclosed space where the toxic chemicals hang in the atmosphere and permeate the walls, furnishings and carpet.
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Envoirment
post May 8 2017, 06:47 PM
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QUOTE(Silas @ May 8 2017, 07:39 PM) *
Im of the opinion that smoking should be banned full stop so I support this measure. Putting aside the health benefits and the benefits for children here for a second. Smoking in council owned properties costs councils a fortune at a time when their budgets are being squeezed. Properties where a tenant has smoked needs to be deep cleaned and the majority of the time they need new carpets and the walls stripped and repainted in order to remove the disgusting stench.

A lot of private landlords prohibit smoking in their contract for this reason. The University I worked at banned smoking in ta accommodation too on this basis. Why should a council have to pay to bring a property back up to standard because you wanted to give yourself cancer?

You are subject to inspection from your landlord often as part of your tenancy, I've been inspected twice since I've moved to Manchester and got inspected when I lived at the uni too. It's immediately obvious to a non-smoker that a home has been smoked in so actually it's very easy to detect and enforce.


Unfortuantely that's often left to the new tenants. A lot of councils get away with giving people rather disgusting homes - which I've witnessed first hand. Although I live in London where council housing is under huge pressure. My mum was on a coucil waiting list for 10 years before we got a decent place. A few of the homes that were offered during that time were just.... awful. Huge amounts of work would've been needed to get them into a decent state. The amount of money the council offered to help was very small as well - it wouldn't cover the cost of stripping/repainting and very basic flooring.
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Envoirment
post May 8 2017, 06:48 PM
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QUOTE(Silas @ May 8 2017, 07:41 PM) *
Balcony smoking wouldn't be impacted by what's proposed above if I've read that right as a balcony is technically outside The property rather than in an enclosed space where the toxic chemicals hang in the atmosphere and permeate the walls, furnishings and carpet.


Ye, I meant that the new rules won't impact many people as most I know already smoke outside. Of course that's just personal experience and can't be said of every property up and down the country.
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Bairlas
post May 8 2017, 06:52 PM
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QUOTE(Envoirment @ May 8 2017, 07:47 PM) *
Unfortuantely that's often left to the new tenants. A lot of councils get away with giving people rather disgusting homes - which I've witnessed first hand. Although I live in London where council housing is under huge pressure. My mum was on a coucil waiting list for 10 years before we got a decent place. A few of the homes that were offered during that time were just.... awful. Huge amounts of work would've been needed to get them into a decent state. The amount of money the council offered to help was very small as well - it wouldn't cover the cost of stripping/repainting and very basic flooring.

Exactly why I think this is a good idea. Housing stock in both sectors is utterly woeful the absolute horror stories I've heard of the private housing market in a well off town like St Andrews is enough to give you nightmares never mind somewhere like London.


Councils can't afford this and it's not fair on tenants to be expected to put up with either the cost of getting the accommodations up to scratch or living in an environment that is filled with carcinogens.

In the long run this saves money for social housing agencies and the NHS
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Gezza
post May 8 2017, 07:30 PM
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Completely unenforceable unless you make it a mandatory clause in the tenancy and even then you'll have to convince a judge that it is serious enough to deprive someone of their home, it is also, arguably, an infringement of the Human Rights Act 1998 article 8.
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lewistgreen
post May 8 2017, 07:43 PM
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I suppose it'll be if people are willing to do so. All of the privately rented properties I've lived in have stated not to smoke inside and it's something that I have abided by so it's possible to put this in place, I just can't see it being enforced properly without consequences for people that do.
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Gezza
post May 8 2017, 08:06 PM
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There is a big difference between private sector tenancies and those in social housing. Private landlords don't have to give a reason as to why they want you out for example, so literally ANYTHING could be the reason hence making things like smoking easy to enforce, for social housing providers we have to state reasons and offer an appeals process and then have the potential to be challenged on "proportionality" under the Human rights act hence it is much more difficult to enforce.

Making it voluntarily wouldn't work and making it mandatory would require a change in law which would be unpopular as you would in effect be upping the eviction rates at a time when housing is politically a sensitive issue.
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Brett-Butler
post May 8 2017, 08:11 PM
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On an unrelated note, just want to say - welcome (re-welcome?) to the News & Politics board Gezza. Haven't seen you around these parts recently, always nice to hear different voices in this forum.
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Gezza
post May 8 2017, 08:14 PM
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Haha- thanks- Just because it happens to be my field really!
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commonsense
post May 9 2017, 03:03 PM
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QUOTE(Silas @ May 8 2017, 07:39 PM) *
A lot of private landlords prohibit smoking in their contract for this reason. The University I worked at banned smoking in ta accommodation too on this basis. Why should a council have to pay to bring a property back up to standard because you wanted to give yourself cancer?

You are subject to inspection from your landlord often as part of your tenancy, I've been inspected twice since I've moved to Manchester and got inspected when I lived at the uni too. It's immediately obvious to a non-smoker that a home has been smoked in so actually it's very easy to detect and enforce.



Well I've learnt something as I never knew some landlords prohibited smoking. As it's an infringement of the HRA is this even enforceable by a landlord? He'd lose if a tenant challenged him in court surely. When we rented we were never inspected in 4 years up in Barnsley and in 5 years renting down here in East London. Landlords never came near as rent was paid by Direct Debit.


This post has been edited by common sense: May 9 2017, 03:12 PM
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commonsense
post May 9 2017, 03:06 PM
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QUOTE(Gezza @ May 8 2017, 09:06 PM) *
There is a big difference between private sector tenancies and those in social housing. Private landlords don't have to give a reason as to why they want you out for example, so literally ANYTHING could be the reason hence making things like smoking easy to enforce, for social housing providers we have to state reasons and offer an appeals process and then have the potential to be challenged on "proportionality" under the Human rights act hence it is much more difficult to enforce.



Have you never watched Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords? Of course they need a reason if it's during the tenancy but not if they just don't want to renew it after it's expired. Whilst still in tenancy they've to show the court a reason why they want an eviction order ie non payment of rent being by far the commonest, anti-social behaviour etc and the tenant can turn up at court and challenge it.


This post has been edited by common sense: May 9 2017, 03:13 PM
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Liаm
post May 9 2017, 04:30 PM
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It's not hard to go outside for a fag laugh.gif It's not very practical to enforce though, I feel like it would be one of those things that is technically illegal but people just kind of swindle anyway knowing they'd probably not get caught and nothing would be done. It also does open a can of worms of what else they could put into law, I think it's best if people are just decent enough to go outside and not smoke around kids/other people in order to keep their health but of course in a country where a majority of people vote for the Tories that might be asking a bit too much rolleyes.gif
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Gezza
post May 9 2017, 04:45 PM
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QUOTE(common sense @ May 9 2017, 04:03 PM) *
Well I've learnt something as I never knew some landlords prohibited smoking. As it's an infringement of the HRA is this even enforceable by a landlord? He'd lose if a tenant challenged him in court surely. When we rented we were never inspected in 4 years up in Barnsley and in 5 years renting down here in East London. Landlords never came near as rent was paid by Direct Debit.


All tenants are protected from illegal eviction under the 1977 act which means that all evictions must take place in attendance of a court representative (Bailiff) with a valid court order in place. This protects your HRA entitlements as a tenant of a PRIVATE landlord.

QUOTE(common sense @ May 9 2017, 04:06 PM) *
Have you never watched Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords? Of course they need a reason if it's during the tenancy but not if they just don't want to renew it after it's expired. Whilst still in tenancy they've to show the court a reason why they want an eviction order ie non payment of rent being by far the commonest, anti-social behaviour etc and the tenant can turn up at court and challenge it.


Well if you've watched a TV program.... rolleyes.gif If you rent from a PRIVATE landlord on an assured shorthold tenancy (as most are) and it is a FIXED TERM tenancy then you cannot be evicted whilst you are in the term of your tenancy (normally 6 month tenancy but can be 1 year, 2 year, etc). The landlord will simply serve you with a section 21 notice then start proceedings when it comes to an end if you don't voluntarily vacate. The notice does not have to state a reason and the only defence you can have is that their is a failure of service (i.e served against the wrong people, wrong address etc) the notice is invalid (doesn't give the appropriate notice period) or that you do not have an assured shorthold tenancy. Provided the judge is happy you have served the right notice and you have the right tenancy type and it is not a "retaliatory" eviction he will grant a 14 day possession order as it is mandatory. They don't need to give a reason.

Most SOCIAL landlords give periodic assured Shortholds which are not fixed term, they normally give a reason for serving the notice and will give you a right to appeal in order to head off any potential proportionality claims down the line which is where the HRA comes in. You have to be a public body to be subject to an article 8 HRA defence. Private landlords are not a public body so they are not.

In either case the court allows you to make a defence but unless the very strict points above are made (and stand) the defence is dismissed.
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Bairlas
post May 10 2017, 04:52 PM
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My halls of residence at Dundee and the halls at St Andrews both have strict no smoking policies. At St Andrews when I was an assistant warden our head warden was the head of residences and there was fines and I do believe we kicked out a serial offender (and charged him for a full year rent)

I should caution that tennacy law is different in Scotland
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Gezza
post May 10 2017, 07:36 PM
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Students are normally "Common Law" tenants if in halls or Uni owned properties which basically affords the student the least amount of security possible. The tenancy should provide you with notice periods etc but there is no formal" notice they need to give other than to write and give you notice (4 weeks) that they want you to leave because you have either 1- come to the end of the period, 2- you've left Uni or 3- you've broken a term of the tenancy (smoking). In the first two instances this cannot be before the end of your lease or tenancy end date.

Again, if you contest, the uni has to go to court and get a judge to order possession but in terms of defending the possession claim it would difficult unless you could argue successfully that the clause which has been broken is an unreasonable clause or that there was a fundamental problem with the claim (wrong address/ defendant etc) I think that's the same in Scotland to the best of my knowledge.
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