No smoking vector

Contributed by SFM

Saco Falls Management (SFM), a property management company with 10 apartment buildings across Southern Maine and the New Hampshire Seacoast, is dedicated to both anticipating and exceeding the expectations of its residents. As part of this aim, SFM reached out to FreshAir Sensor for help enforcing the smoke-free policies already in place at nine of its buildings. Before finding FreshAir, SFM was frustrated by the lack of available and effective methods to monitor for smoking and follow up with residents who ignored the policies.

SFM would reactively learn of smoking in its apartments through complaints from neighbors. The management relied heavily on neighbor reporting as a way to monitor unauthorized smoking. If accused residents needed to be taken to court for a smoking-related lease violation, there was no guarantee that the terms of the lease would be upheld and honored. Adequate proof of smoking was difficult to obtain, because SFM needs to give a 24-hour notice before entering apartments for smoking inspections. The waiting period following smoking complaints enabled the suspected smokers to cover up any smoking odors and remove evidence such as ashtrays or cigarette butts.

In addition to neighbors’ complaints and difficulties gathering smoking evidence, smoking within SFM’s apartment units caused costly damages. As an example, a heavy smoker moved into a new building. No one had lived in the apartment before this resident, and every fixture was brand new. While the resident moved out after just 14 months, the apartment required significant maintenance and repairs because of the smoking. The maintenance included a full carpet replacement and complete repaint. The turnover costs amounted to $2,500, a substantial cost for an apartment that was barely one year old with a single occupant.

SFM began using FreshAir’s smoking detection system as a solution to the challenges and costs caused by unauthorized smoking. SFM installed FreshAir devices across one of its newly repurposed 80-unit apartment buildings, and after a successful first six months, the management decided to install devices in another new apartment building.

SFM reports significantly reduced in-unit smoking for the buildings monitored by FreshAir devices. The residents respect the technology, which discourages smoking in the apartments. SFM consequently benefits from fewer smoking-related damages in its apartment units. The deterred smoking translates to cheaper and faster turnovers when residents move out.

For scenarios when residents continue to smoke, FreshAir’s smoking reports provide invaluable documentation. SFM includes the downloadable smoking reports with timestamped charts and scientific proof of smoking in its documentation for lease violations. FreshAir’s objective evidence makes it difficult for residents to successfully deny smoking. Even when residents try taking SFM to court to dispute a smoking violation, as soon as the residents’ attorneys see FreshAir’s scientific proof of smoking, the attorneys realize the residents do not have an arguable case. The disputes are settled out-of-court in favor of SFM.

SFM can now confidently advertise its properties as smoke-free, which adds value to its listings and keeps current residents comfortable and healthy in their apartments. SFM continues to monitor its properties with FreshAir devices and is looking to retrofit some of its older properties as well.