Do Tenants Realize the Effects of Smoking Inside Their Apartments?
Aside from the effects of smoking on your own health and the people around you, there are also some pretty adverse effects of smoking inside your home.
Because of this, smoke free apartments and other rental properties are gaining in popularity, mainly because of the expense of cleaning out a unit after a smoking tenant vacates.
And the effects of smoking can be very, very ugly, time-consuming and costly to the landlord to clean up!
Smoking Residue on Walls, Ceilings, Carpets
Yes, the smoke from the tar and nicotine in traditional cigarettes can do some real damage inside a property. And it’s not just the odor or the “stench” as some people call it, that can linger for months after a unit is cleaned out.
Yellowed and browned walls dripping with tar and nicotine residue may mean scraping off wallpaper or ruined paint, or even replacing the drywall all together and starting from scratch.
If you’ve used two to three coats of Killz Max and/or primer base and the residue still seeps through, then you’re looking at tearing things out and starting over.
Window Sills, Countertops and Floors
Unfortunately, a lot of smokers will lay their cigarettes down on the edge of a window sill or countertop or on top of the toilet tank instead of putting ashtrays everywhere.
While it might seem convenient, a lot of times the cigarette burns into the edge of the sill or countertop.
Linoleum and carpeted flooring also seem to sustain a lot of damage from smokers too. Long ashes drop and singe the floors, or the lit cigarettes themselves fall or get dropped and burn holes.
Burn marks, singes and holes are other effects of smoking that can’t just be cleaned away either.
Landlords have to bear the expense of replacing walls, carpets, flooring and even window sills, depending on how much damage has been done by these smoking tenants.
One property owner spent thousands of dollars to clean the walls and replace the carpeting. Six months later and the nicotine still seeped through the heavy repainting job.
The stench of stale cigarette residue can linger for months after cleaning it out too. Smoke rises, and it can get into the ceiling tiles, wood surfaces, all of the nooks and crannies of an apartment or house.
Sometimes no matter how much cleaning you do, the effects of smoking are still there. And if the next tenant is a non-smoker, they may notice it right away and it could cost a landlord future tenants by renting to smokers to begin with.
What’s a Landlord to Do?
Landlords can face a dilemma when it comes to renting to smokers. While you don’t want to seem prejudiced against smokers and you don’t want a high vacancy rate in your units, you have to be considerate of other tenants as well, especially in multi-unit buildings.
Here are some reasons why you may not want to rent apartment units to smokers:
- The smoke can and will seep into the adjacent units and they may complain about the “noxious odors” coming from a neighbor’s apartment.
- You can lose “curb appeal” if the smokers leave butts scattered all over the outdoor walkways and steps.
- The expense of cleaning out the unit is probably too costly relative to the amount of rent you charge.
- You may end up with a higher turnover rate if your non-smoking tenants leave because of the smokers.
If You Decide to Rent to Smokers, Here are Some Options
Obviously, not all smokers are inconsiderate and a great many of them are very clean and careful smokers, too. Some don’t even mind going outside to smoke because even they don’t want to have keep cleaning to freshen the air indoors.
And by not renting to any smokers at all, landlords could be losing out on some great tenants for no other reason than they smoke.
So here are some options that will allow renting to tenants that smoke, while avoiding some of the effects of smoking, including bothering other tenants, and giving you a sort of safety net against cleaning and repairs:
- Air Purification System. Include in the lease that your tenant must install an air purification system and only smoke in the room where the system is located.
- No Smoking Signs. You can place a No Smoking sign on the main door to the building and others in common areas of the building.
- Designated Smoking Areas. For tenants who do smoke, let them know they can only smoke outdoors, and assign an area or two away from any heavily trafficked common areas of the building just for smoking.
Be sure to have an ash can handy so there won’t be butts all over the grounds.
- Lease Agreement Statements. Some landlords write into their lease agreements that the apartment, building and outdoor grounds are strictly No Smoking, and levy a fine for violating the agreement.
As long as it’s stated in the lease, a landlord can also eventually evict a tenant for the violation and withhold any part of the security deposit for cleaning up, repairing or replacing any damage caused by the effects of smoking.
You can also specify that only vaping is allowed indoors.
Use of Personal Vaporizers (PVs/Electronic Cigarettes) in Smoke Free Rentals
If your building is smoke-free, it can remain absolutely smoke-free while still allowing PVs. To me, and hundreds of thousands of others, it’s just plain common sense.
Vapor is just that – vapor, not smoke, so you don’t have any of the effects of smoking like you do with traditional cigarettes.
It’s an odorless fog that will not drift into adjacent apartments because vapor doesn’t “drift,” it dissipates so it can’t leave any residue on walls or in carpets, etc., and you may even be helping some people to quit smoking cigarettes by switching to PVs.