Online Program

A compromise is born: How landlord and tenant groups jointly developed a policy to protect the health of renters in san francisco

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 9:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.

Derek R. Smith, MPH/MSW, Community Health Equity & Promotion, San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, CA
Susana Hennessey-Lavery, MPH, San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, CA
Alyonik Hrushow, MPH, San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, CA
With nearly 62% of San Franciscans housed as renters rather than homeowners, the vast majority of the community lives in close proximity to other people who are not direct family members. While this sometimes means small living quarters and nuisances such as hearing noise from neighbors, renters are commonly being exposed to hazardous drifting secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke has been defined as a toxic air contaminant in California and is related to myriad diseases that are also associated with directly smoking.

In a unique partnership between the Health Department, an agency representing landlords and an organization working for low-income tenants, a strong protection for the safety and health of all tenants was crafted. A mutually agreeable solution was developed to advance a policy proposal that would protect future tenants and ensure that all existing and future tenants know what they are getting into by signing a lease. The joint proposal from two agencies that sometimes find themselves on opposite sides of policy issues elicited broad support from elected officials and positive media coverage that highlighted the health protections and simplicity of the law.

Upon unanimous passage of this housing smoking disclosure ordinance in early 2013, prospective tenants are informed about the current smoking status in every apartment unit in the building they are considering renting. This creates further norm change and empowers individuals with young children, elderly persons, and people living with chronic disease to make choices that allow them to live well in their home.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the elements of an apartment smoking policy disclosure ordinance and how it protects low-income tenants. Evaluate a policy development process that utilizes distinct sector representatives working toward a common goal.

Keyword(s): Housing, Community Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have served as a tobacco control professional and community organizer for more than 7 years. I am responsible for community engagement through tobacco control activities for the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.