Smoking In A Rented Property: What Are The Rules?

Smoking In A Rented Property: What Are The Rules?

What can a landlord do about smoking in a rented property? It’s a difficult thing to have to deal with. On one hand, it’s no secret to landlords that daily smoking is hazardous for a property’s air quality and may cause significant damage to the interior. However, a landlord’s lenient attitude toward smoking will open the door to the greatest number of potential renters, because there are still many smokers.

How Many Smokers Are There?

When it comes to smoking in a rental property, according to a recent poll, just seven percent of landlords agree to allow tenants to smoke during the tenancy, despite the fact that more than one-fifth of the population are smokers.  So, are landlords passing on a golden opportunity? Before making any hasty choices, landlords of Houses in Multiple Occupation should examine the following research, which discovered that smoking renters are not very popular with their flatmates:

Barely 19 percent of other renters indicated they would be pleased to live with smokers, 37 percent of flatmates would share housing with a smoker if they would smoke outside and 44 percent of flatmates usually would not want to share with someone who enjoyed smoking in a rented property.

Another recent poll, this one conducted by Easyroomate, found that 38 percent of private landlords would evict tenants who were detected smoking within a rented property.

Do Landlords Have A Choice If Tenants Are Smoking In A Rented Property?

In these days of the Human Rights Act, do landlords have any right to ban their tenants from smoking in their rental property. The quick answer is… yes.

It is completely feasible to include a brief phrase to ban renters from smoking in a rented property. We recommend something like this:

3.7.13 Not to smoke or let any guest or visitor to smoke tobacco or any other substance in the property, unless the landlord has provided written approval.

How To Enforce A Smoking Ban

The enforcement of this provision, on the other hand, is a concern. If the landlord is confident that a tenant was smoking without authorization, they must first acquire evidence to prove it. Simply stating that the room smelled “a little smokey” is unlikely to suffice in a court.  To evict a tenant on these grounds, a landlord must use one of the fault-based grounds for possession, such as Ground 12: The tenant has violated one or more of the provisions of the rental agreement, excluding the responsibility to pay rent. However, this is one of the reasons for possession where the court has discretion in granting a landlord a possession order.

This implies that no two cases will be the same, but more importantly, there is little chance that a ‘liberal minded’ court would toss a tenant out on the streets for having the ‘odd smoke’ in their own house. As a result, there is little prospect of a landlord obtaining possession. This means, the odds of a landlord winning while a tenant continues to pay rent are small. Is there anything more a landlord could do if a tenant keeps smoking in a rented property?

smoking in a rented property
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Other Approaches To Prohibit Smoking In A Rented Property

One technique to cope with any harm produced by a smoking renter is to request a premium rate. It doesn’t have to be much, maybe five percent, just enough to pay the price of redecorating. As we indicated earlier, 1 in 5 individuals still smoke, therefore being tolerant may provide a landlord an opportunity in the market, providing you don’t mind redecorating on a recurring basis.

The alternative method may be to require a larger deposit from a smoker in the expectation that if damage occurs, the landlord would be successful in withholding a portion of the renters deposit to pay the damage caused by smoking in a rented property. However, we’re sceptical that a landlord could persuade a TDS adjudicator that the damage (which, let’s face it, frequently smells worse than it appears) is a problem even where you’ve gone to the time of meticulously creating a property inventory.

The long and short of smoking renters is that although the law seems to be on the landlords’ side, enforcability is a far more difficult and unpredictable procedure. Unless landlords have a trick up their sleeves, the best solution seems to be to attempt to pick an honest non-smoking renter in the first place, or to just accept the fact that there will be smoking in a rented property.

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