The 13 apartment communities are located in the cities of Ventura, Goleta, Santa Maria, Lompoc, Santa Barbara, and Carpinteria and represent 1,995 units, according to Jim Carrillo, Vice President – Residential Communities for the Towbes Group.
“Our goal has always been to provide a healthy and safe environment for our residents and guests and the hazards of smoking are well documented,”
The response from the existing and prospective residents of The Towbes Group’s properties has been overwhelmingly positive according to Carrillo.
“Most of our residents are non-smokers who would prefer to live in a smoke-free environment and judging by those who are looking to rent in our communities, there is a strong demand for smoke-free housing in the Tri Counties,” he said.
Secondhand smoke exposure in multi-unit housing is a serious health threat because it drifts from other units, balconies, patios and common areas, according to The Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing, a project of the American Lung Association in California. The most effective way to address this problem is for landlords to adopt a policy that restricts smoking within units. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), also reports that separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposure of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke.
“Living in close quarters with neighbors can be tough, especially with smoking neighbors,” added Leslie Swanson, a resident at Towbes’ 200-unit Sumida Gardens Apartments in Santa Barbara. “We were both thrilled to learn of our home going smoke free. We can now leave our patio door and windows open knowing that we are no longer bringing in second hand smoke. That's especially important to us when we welcome our first son home in July.”
There are 23 jurisdictions in California that have adopted an ordinance prohibiting smoking in all or a certain percentage of units in a multifamily community, none of which in the Tri County area. While Carpinteria is the only city in Santa Barbara County to ban tobacco use in public places, it does not restrict smoking in rental units.
“While there are several apartment communities in the Tri Counties that are smoke free, the numbers are still relatively small,” said Carrillo. “With nearly 2,000 rental units in our portfolio, we are providing those who wish to enjoy smoke free living a much greater choice.”
Current residents will be given a six month grace period to comply with the Non-Smoking policy.
About the Towbes Group
The Towbes Group, Inc. www.towbes.com is a fully integrated real estate investment, development and property management company. Founded in 1960, the Santa Barbara, CA-based firm has developed more than two million square feet of commercial real estate and nearly 6,000 single family and multifamily units in the Tri-county area. With more than two million square feet under management, the commercial properties division of The Towbes Group provides asset and property management for its own portfolio and third party clients.