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Quinte landlords group declares war on smokers


Health Promoter Rebecca Mathers-Phillips from the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health educates Quinte landlords on how to make their rental buildings smoke-free.

Quinte region Landlords are seeking help to butt out problems caused by some tenants who smoke.

Fed up with the damage caused by some tenants smoking in their units, members of the Quinte Landlords Association brought in the Public Health Unit to educate them on how to outlaw smoking in their buildings.

Health Promoter Rebecca Mathers-Phillips from the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health gave an hour-long seminar on how to convert rental buildings to smoke-free. Local landlords learned that they have access to free signs, literature, and other resources to let tenants know smoking is not permitted.

“Our members have had enough of irresponsible smokers causing significant damage to their rental units through smoking” said association president Robert Gentile. “The smoke gets into the floors, carpets, appliances, everywhere, and it takes a lot of work to
remove the grime from the walls and ceilings” said one angry landlord and added “the clean up bill after a tenant moves out can add up to hundreds of dollars.”

He said going after the tenant in small claims court is an option, but not always practical which means landlords pay out of pocket for tenant negligence.

“We’ve warned tenants before, but this time we’re getting serious and will have the smoking ban enforced if we have to,” said Gentile. At the landlords’ request, the Health Unit has offered to send in uniformed enforcement officers to clamp down on tenants who don’t respect the smokefree designation.

“Our members are prepared to have the officers in their buildings issuing tickets if that’s what it takes,” warns Gentile.

Gentile said his members respect the rights of their tenants to smoke, just not when it causes damage to their buildings and upsets other tenants.

“All we ask is that tenants smoke outside away from doors and windows and clean up their butts. That’s not too unreasonable, is it?”

The association serves members in Belleville, Trenton, Prince Edward County, Brighton, Stirling, Tweed, Deseronto, Tyendinaga, and Napanee.

Experts on various landlord-related topics are invited to speak at the groups’ regular meetings. The association was also formed to network with other area landlords to share tips, information and ideas, and also warnings about known fraudulant tenants.

Gentile wants to get the word out about the association because it has been operated more like a “secret club” for more than 15 years.

“As the new president, I’m changing that. There are likely hundreds of small scale landlords across the region, including PEC, that are suffering financially and emotionally at the hands of fraudulent tenants not paying rent and damaging apartments. This is exacerbated by a broken rental tribunal system that is fraught with delays and loop holes.

“Every week I hear from landlords signing up as members and saying they could have used the help and support years ago but never knew we existed. They tell me about landlords who have quit and sold their units after taking a beating because they didn’t know of any local landlord group to turn to for help. Some of them have actually broke down and cried in frustration and exhaustion.”

Gentile said municipalities in the region have been reporting housing shortages and need private landlords to fill the gap.

“But many people are afraid to become landlords or are trying, failing, and getting out of it. This is where our association comes in. The more landlords who know we exist, they will have a resource to turn to for training and education on how to be a successful landlord, thereby providing more rental housing in our region.”

More information on The Quinte Landlord’s Association can be found at 613-707-3879 or

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  1. Suzanne says:

    I am glad to read this in the paper today. I previously called the health department, indicating that in our building, we have smokers that probably smoke 27/7 because our hallways stink like crazy. If one of them comes in the elevator at the same time, I do, I always say wow, this cigaret smoke of yours just stink, but I guess you don’t smell yourself.

    I would like to be contacted to get some literature to pass in our building. We have 82 suites, and my floor and the sixth floor, are the worst in our building. But I’ve been told that our third floor by far is yet the worst. If I had known that it was this bad, I never would have taken this luxurios suite to begin with.

    Please reply by e-mail so that I can arrange to get literature and place it in every ones mail box.

    Thank you for this article, it is giving me hope that maybe we can all get together and have this stopped in multi living quarters. Each suite has a balcony, so go our there and puff to your hearts content, or until you get lung cancer or die from a heart failure.


  2. Margaret watson says:

    every business owner today is try’s to finds ways to cope with the ever increasing cost of operating.

    taxes , water now almost equal to,property tax here in , the increase in labour and material for repairs.

    the government controlled rent increase this year was 2%. what was your tax increase? mr Fox.

    if landlords prefer to rent to none smokers , that should be their right.

    Tim Hortons saved. Millions a year when the no smoking laws came in , do you remember those brown ceilings? may I just add walk, in a landlords shoes before you criticize, you have no idea.

  3. Mr. R. says:

    Mr Fox believes that you should be able to do in you unit what you want. He is correct. But he is also responsible for any damage done other than normal wear and tear. I had the occasion to purchase a resident that had smokers in it. The previous owner had tried to have it cleaned by professional cleaners and was told that the only way it could be removed was to replace all the drywall on the walls and ceiling. The previous owner lost thousands of dollars on this property, because this is exactly what we had to do. Are the smoker prepared to do this? No!! There attitude is, it your place. you fix it.

  4. ADJ says:

    Making a mountain out of a mole hill!! Don’t want smoking in the building? Then specify it in the rental agreement(contract) I don’t get it… What’s the big deal? Does your insurance company know you are renting to smokers?
    Supposedly fewer smokers now than years past so the smoker is in the minority. Should not be difficult to find good tenants that are less of a risk and expense.Rent rates…now that’s a whole different arguement.

  5. Dennis Fox says:

    This is not an easy problem to solve. While I am not a smoker, I respect the fact that this act is not illegal and I support the concept that a person’s home is their castle – meaning a person renting is free to do legally what they want to do – including smoking. If these landlords want to improve air quality, then install proper ventilation or invest in properly located and ventilated areas where people can smoke indoors/outdoors comfortably. Learn to treat your renters with respect. Being a landlord means more than just taking their money and having renters comply with your rules – or else! Frankly your concerns come across as being whinny and control freakish in nature. How many landlords comply with all the fire and building codes? Now those things are worth giving a person a ticket for. How many react quickly to renters concerns of much needed unit or building repairs? Landlords have far more to answer for than what most renters do, so don’t open this Pandora’s Box unless you are prepared to go all the way with people investigating people.

  6. Paul Cole says:

    “There are likely hundreds of small scale landlords across the region, including PEC, that are suffering financially” Rent for 2 bedroom duplex in Belleville average around $800 per month here in The County the same rents for anywhere from $1000 to $1400..Ya they are struggling financially.

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