Renter with more than 11,000 units to ban all smoking, pot or not, for all apartments and patios this fall

An apartment rental company with more than 11,000 units in Western Canada says it will ban all types of smoking in its units starting this fall.

'They don't want the smell,' says Saskatchewan's landlord association

Belmae Manor in Saskatoon is just one of about 100 Regina and Saskatoon properties where owner Mainstreet Equity Corp. will ban indoor smoking of any kind beginning this fall. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

An apartment rental company with more than 11,000 units in Western Canada says it will ban all types of smoking in its units and on balconies starting this fall.

The news comes a couple weeks after the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation issued a similar notice, and just three months out from when marijuana will be legalized across Canada.

"Our buildings will be no-smoking buildings for both cigarette smoke and marijuana," confirmed Sheena Keslick, the vice-president of operations for Mainstreet Equity Corp., on Thursday. 

The smoking ban will also cover medical marijuana and vaping and will extend to the patios attached to apartments, she added. Designated smoking areas will be set up outside buildings.

The Saskatchewan Landlord Association says Mainstreet is not alone in its decision. The association held a meeting earlier this year attended by 175 Regina and Saskatoon landlords.

"I'd say 80 per cent of those two groups were going towards a non smoking [policy]," said Chanda Lockhart, the association's executive officer.

"They've asked, 'What can I do and how can I protect myself?' And the best protection is to make their buildings non-smoking because cannabis can cause damages. They don't want the growth in their building. They don't want the smell. They don't want the risk of insurance issues, fire hazards, unwanted company, etc."

'Majority of our customers do not smoke'

Mainstreet, a Calgary-based company that markets itself to families and students, owned 288 properties with a total of 11,213 rental units as of March 31, according to an earnings report. Cities it has buildings in include Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Abbotsford, B.C., and Surrey.

The company has about 6,600 units in Alberta, spread between Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge. 

Mainstreet will begin notifying all its customers about the smoking ban within the next week or so, Keslick said. She said the decision is about health and safety for residents. 

"I think that smoking has become almost a thing that's almost become unacceptable in a lot of different areas," she said.

"Our buildings are all family friendly. We have to consider all of our customers and I would say that the majority of our customers do not smoke."

Keslick added medical marijuana will also be banned.

Growing also banned

The company is also banning growing marijuana in apartments.

Keslick said the decision is about protecting the company's assets.

"It has different effects to the building and premise," she said. "Whether it's electricity, extra usage of electricity, humidity, moisture, all those things can affect our structure. It can also affect all of our other customers as well."

About the Author

Guy Quenneville

Reporter and web writer for CBC Saskatoon

Story tips, ideas, complaints, just want to say 'Hi'? Write me at guy.quenneville@cbc.ca