Can landlords forbid you to smoke inside your own apartment?

Anti-smoking activists call it "the last frontier" in the battle to curb smoking — banning smoking inside apartments.

Quebec's Non-Smokers' Rights Association recently got a legal opinion, suggesting landlords can change a tenant's lease to forbid the tenant frorm smoking anywhere in the rental unit — including, on the balcony.

But can landlords really do that?

As things stand now, about 60 per cent of rental units in the province have clauses which forbid tenants from smoking. But for everybody else, the landlord does appear to have a valid argument for inserting the clause.

"The landlord is bound to follow all the rules of safety, maintenance, sanitation and habitability," says Ted Wright with the Westmount Legal Clinic. "That means if the smoke is going to another apartment, it shouldn't."

The Non-Smokers' Rights Association claims to have a survey suggesting as many as 44 per cent of non-smoking tenants are bothered by second-hand smoke in apartment buildings. About a tenth of non-smokers have considered moving because of smoke.