Smoking in a Leased Property: Things to Consider

Smoking is one of the most disputed issues when it comes to a landlord- tenant relationship. Usually, not all tenants are given the privilege to smoke inside the properties they’re renting. There are landlords who allow smoking entirely, there are those who only allow smoking within specific areas of the house or unit, and there are those who completely prohibit smoking inside their properties.

This issue can be a little bit challenging, as smoking is part of many people’s everyday lives. People are generally free to smoke wherever they want as long as they’re inside their private property. However, the same cannot be said about people who rent properties that are not their own. The landlord will decide the rules governing the property, and it is the duty of the tenants to follow these rules as they come.

If you are a real estate owner and you want to find out if letting your tenants smoke is an acceptable idea, you need to decide whether the risks are worth your tenant’s comfort. Read up on smoking in rented properties to know more about this issue.

What does smoking do to your unit?

The effects of smoking indoors do not disappear once the smoke dissipates. Third-hand smoking is a real and tangible issue, and it is advisable for landlords like you to know what smoking does to a home before thinking about letting your tenants smoke indoors.

Let’s start with what third-hand smoke really is.

Third-hand smoke is the residue left in your living space after the smoke clears out. It can spread almost anywhere, from carpets and furniture items, to your kitchen counter. Third-hand smoke even affects your clothes and walls.

It doesn’t matter if you only inhaled, ingested, or touched these surfaces of affected items. Everyone in contact with third-hand smoke can be at risk of illnesses related to tobacco. The fact that anyone can be harmed due to exposure is already a big issue; the detrimental effects of third-hand smoke, however, is not confined to just health-related issues.

It lessens your home’s attractiveness to potential tenants

Apart from the overall aesthetics of the home, possible tenants also look for certain issues that may affect the way they live in the house or unit you are leasing. As third-hand smoke lingers for weeks, months, and even years, the left-over residue may still be seen and felt by prospective lessees.
The negative effects of third-hand smoke is well-documented. People know that their health can be at risk when they rent properties that have lingering smoke remnants. If you want to make your unit or house as attractive to prospective tenants as soon as possible, it is better to protect your home from third-hand smoke by prohibiting indoor smoking.

It leaves stains in your house fixtures

Smoke tends to leave numerous remnants in a property, and that includes stains in your walls and other fixtures. The tobacco smoke residue causes yellow-brownish stains on walls, floors, ceilings, appliances, and even your ventilation systems.

Removing these stains can be difficult, and you will need to clean your house fixtures and coat it with plaint to truly remove the effects of smoke. If you want to lessen maintenance fees and costs in your leased property, it is highly advisable for you to think about smoking restrictions indoors.

It leaves remnants of cigarette smell inside your property

If you still smell smoke after you step into a certain property, this means that there are carcinogens and left-over stains that have been overlooked. It is important to have this fixed, as the leftover residue can still affect your health negatively. Get rid of the smoke residue altogether by cleaning your walls and fixtures thoroughly.

It makes restoration and maintenance more expensive

You will definitely spend big bucks on maintaining your property, especially after it has been exposed to smoke for a long period of time. You need to scrub and clean your walls and floors thoroughly to ensure that your property is always ready for prospective lessees. Restoration can be a bit pricey, but it is definitely worth it when you consider the negative effect of smoking on your health and property.

A large majority of real estate agents find it difficult to resell or offer certain properties for rent if it was previously occupied by smokers. Some even say that certain clients do not bother to consider certain homes once they realize that it was owned or rented by a smoker.

From these facts, it is clear that you lose money once you let people smoke inside the premises of your property. Your property’s value can go down to as much as 29% if it was previously occupied by a smoker. You need to protect your property and you can start by proactively limiting people’s access to cigarettes once they are within the property limits.

How you can protect your unit against the damages of smoking

The first thing that would help you protect your property from the damage of smoke is by refraining from smoking indoors. However, there are times when this cannot be avoided at all. Here are some tips to help you limit smoke damages to your property:

1. Steam and clean your carpet regularly.

Carpets are among worst things to expose to smoke. It not only absorbs the smoke easily, but it also keeps the carcinogens nicely tucked in its fabric for a long period of time.

Thus, landlords are advised to clean and steam their carpets regularly to prevent the build-up of carcinogens. If possible, you can even get rid of the carpet entirely to make sure that none of the remnants will ever be in contact with your next tenants.

2. Clean your walls thoroughly

You must clean your walls thoroughly to get rid of the stain and smell left behind by smoke remnants. To do so successfully, you must mix extremely hot water with detergent and scrub your walls as thoroughly as possible without damaging your walls.

3. Wipe down all possible surfaces in your home

Third-hand smoke is not just confined to carpets and walls. Virtually all types of surfaces can be affected, from your clothes to the place where you cook and prepare your meal. Make sure that you get rid of all traces of smoke in your property by wiping all flat surfaces with hot water and detergent.

4. Paint your walls

If you want to be extremely cautious about your walls, you can paint your walls in three coatings to cover up any remnants of the third-hand smoke. Three layers of paint may seem like a lot, but it would definitely help into making your property feel brand new so you can proudly show it off to possible tenants.

Make sure that your property look and feel as attractive as possible before you show it off to possible tenants. Cleaning your walls not only facilitates meaningful maintenance. It also improves the health aspect of your property. Your tenants deserve a clean and safe living space. As a responsible landlord, you should start protecting your unit against the damages of smoking.

Establishing rules and guidelines on smoking in real estate properties

As a landlord, while you cannot entirely control the lifestyle of your tenant, you can lay down rules and regulations that they must adhere to once they agree on renting your property. Smoking has already been banned in numerous public spaces, and you have every right to ban it inside your real estate property as well.

While there are numerous tenants who may not be happy with restricting smoking indoors, the process of banning smoking is not discriminatory under the law. Just as real estate owners are allowed to prohibit pets, excess noise, and other similar activities, landlords can limit the space in which their tenants can smoke as well.

As long as the smoking restrictions are written in the lease agreement between the landlord and the tenant, the landlord will have every right to evict tenants who break such agreed upon arrangements.

Of course, there’s nothing stopping real estate owners from letting their tenants smoke as well. However, with the numerous health and property damages and pricey maintenance costs, banning smoking altogether seems like the most logical option.

Leasing smartly: Banning smoking and other hazardous practices indoors

As a landlord, you need to be smart about the provisions and regulations that you are going to put in your lease agreement. Should you choose to allow your tenants to smoke indoors, it would be smart to include a section dedicated to placing the burden of maintenance and upkeep from smoke damage under their list of responsibilities. That way, you can rest easy with the fact that you would not be shelling out money just to placate your smoke-loving tenants.

Leaving the ball in their court when it comes to maintenance also makes them more cautious when it comes to smoking indoors. They will definitely think twice before smoking in areas prone to smoke damage when you leave the responsibility of maintenance and restoration to them.

Of course, it will be easier if you just ban smoking in your properties altogether. However, the way you want to protect your home from the damages of smoke is up to you. Regardless of what you choose, make sure that you do not depreciate the value of your home by letting smoke damage win. Protect your property from smoke damage as soon as possible.

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