Smoking. I don’t get it (and nor should you!).
I remember trying my first ciggy at the tender age of 14. I was in the midst of a tragic family holiday in Magaluf (my parents were blissfully unaware of Magaluf’s reputation). Great holiday.
I wasn’t bullied into taking my first drag (which seems to be a common justification), but I was surrounded by people my age that seemed to enjoy it, which lead me to give it a whirl. My first draw was pretty stereotypical; I choked like a bitch and screwed my face up like I was sucking on a bitter nutsack, and my initial thought was, “what the fuck is this revolting shit?” I genuinely couldn’t fathom why people were doing it (and still can’t to this day). It didn’t taste of anything but smoke; it gave me head-rush, and I almost sliced my tongue in half during my coughing fit. I was expecting better things! I was expecting my taste buds to extract at least one enjoyable fruity flavour from the cocktail of smoke. Alas, my taste buds shrivelled, died and laid there disappointed like a floppy penis. My confusion only grew as I got older, because I started to get educated about all the negatives and the distinct lack of a single positive.
Cigarette manufacturers must spend half their time rolling around on the floor in raging fits of laughter, while spending the other half counting their billions and being surrounded by strippers, head to balls. They’re supplying society with a commodity that literally costs pennies to produce, tastes like shit and provides the human body with zero value. The best part is, the main ingredient is addictive so it’s always in demand. Amusing.
As a non-smoker and anti-smoking activist, I can detect the scent of smoke quite easily, even from someone that consumed a cigarette several hours ago. It’s a trick that smokers seem to be phased by. Most smokers are generally delusional to how potent the smell of smoke is, and they think their tainted, disjointed and useless sense of smell can compete with a non-smokers. My ex used to lie about smoking all the time and it made for very amusing encounters. “You’ve had a ciggerate, I can smell it all over you”, I would say. She would then sniff her fingers and shove them under my nose, “No, I haven’t…here, smell them” Of course, it stunk of smoke, and probably salmon, but she had no idea.
I despise smoking, but not only for the health risks, but also for the destructive risks they cause for landlords. Smoking increases the risk of fire and the long-term smells and stains they leave behind can be detrimental to future lets. Not to mention, removing the trace of smoke can be an expensive fix.
Can I stop my tenant from smoking?
In reality, there’s probably nothing a landlord can be do to stop a tenant from smoking in the property, even if the tenant signed a tenancy agreement which states that smoking is not permitted inside the property. The landlord’s grounds to evict the tenant for breach of the lease (Ground 12: The tenant has broken one or more of the terms of the tenancy agreement, except the obligation to pay rent.) are enforced at the discretion of the court, and a court is very unlikely to grant possession because the tenant is smoking in the property, especially if the tenant is paying rent on time. As far as I’m concerned, the law definitely needs to change. But at this point of time, it’s probably not worth trying to go down the legal route if you want to evict your tenant for smoking inside the property. You’ll most likely end up throwing money down the drain.
Easyroommate.co.uk conducted a survey which found that 38% of private landlords would evict tenants who smoked inside their property to rent. However, I doubt any of those landlords actually have evicted a tenant for that reason.
In the event where you have caught your tenant smoking inside, or you suspect they have been, the best approach is to ask them to only smoke outside. Nicely, of course.
Can I use the deposit to pay for damages caused by smoking?
You may have grounds to use the deposit for a professional clean at the end of the tenancy to remove any stains caused to interior walls and fabrics by smoking. However, in order to enforce this, you may need to rely on a good inventory which was drawn up at the beginning of the tenancy. Otherwise it may be difficult to prove that the damage was caused by the tenant. Of course, if the tenants are decent human beings, they could just accept liability and cover the expenses.
Ways to prevent tenants from smoking
As said, it’s extremely difficult to prevent a tenant from smoking inside the property, so the best solution is to try and tackle the problem at the early stages- during the tenant finding stage. Essentially, finding a tenant that doesn’t smoke is the best solution (but even that can be tricky these days).
- Ensure that all your adverts clearly state that you’re looking for NON-SMOKING tenants only
- During the viewing, ask your tenants if they smoke, and remind them that smoking is not permitted inside the property
- Most tenants know that most landlords are looking for tenants that don’t smoke, so they will often bend the truth as their choices are limited otherwise. In this case, try and look for signs for smoking habits during the viewing. As said, the smell of smoke generally grips onto clothing and hair for its dear life
- While it may prove to be futile, it’s still worth putting a clause in the tenancy agreement which states that smoking inside the property is not permitted. It’s also worth going through all the clauses with the tenant just before they sign the tenancy, so they’re reminded of the clause.
Smoking in shared houses (HMO’s)
The regulations for smoking in HMO’s (House with multiple occupancy) somewhat varies. The Smoke-free (Exemptions and Vehicles) Regulations 2007 make it an offence to smoke in the shared parts of residential premises. This could include hallways, corridors, kitchens, bathrooms etc.
Do you allow these filthy cretens to rent your property? Also, have you had any experiences regarding this issue? If so, share, please :)