Part of the risks when you own/manage a rental property is the potential damage caused by smoking tenants. And it’s not just a minor issue. Often, landlords end up having to shell out for cleaning and repair costs due to cigarette marks on furniture and the lingering odour, to name a few.
Indeed, allowing smoking in your rental property can potentially hurt your profitability. But then, are you willing to miss out on an eager tenant just because they smoke? To help you make a well informed decision, let us weigh the pros and cons of allowing smoking in your rental.
- Getting non-smoking tenants to rent the property might be a challenge – We are not generalising but a lot of non-smoking tenants do not like the smell of cigarette in a place they are going to call their home. If there is lingering odour in a property that has just been vacated by a smoker, or you own several properties in one location which allows smoking, potential tenants might not like the idea of living next to someone who is smoking. You might just end up wasting time performing many inspections only for tenants to lose interest as soon as they’re greeted by the smell at the door.
- Costly repairs – Cigarette odour gets absorbed by walls and ceilings, and in order for you to get rid of it, you would need to get a full paint job. But that doesn’t end there. The carpets need to be shampooed and you also might need to clean other pieces of furniture. Just imagine the amount of time and money you can save if you don’t need to do those.
- Cigarette marks and burns – The usual victims of cigarette burns are the carpets and the sofa. Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, you can’t avoid to drop ashes onto the carpet or rugs.
- May cause problems with other tenants -If you have a share house arrangement, smoking tenants can be a source of conflict with other non-smoking tenants. Chances are, other tenants will complain or, worse, move out.
- Fire hazard – consider yourself lucky if the tenant only goes as far as making a few cigarette burns on your carpet.
- Your property wouldn’t be vacant for long – Most rentals prohibit smoking, making it more difficult for smokers to find a place to rent. If you allow smoking in your property, this will open the market up to tenants that smoke.
Then again, like everyone else, smokers need a place to live too so there is going to be some landlords who would have to take consideration when it comes to smoking. If you decide to allow smoking in your investment property and don’t want to have to deal with the damage risks, it’s best you set some house rules.
You can advise them to smoke outside only. Perhaps, you can allot an area where they can smoke like a porch or a balcony. There is always something you can do to benefit both you and your tenants.
Remember, tenants are protected under the state laws from discrimination so you have to be careful not to break any of these anti-discriminatory laws. Nonetheless, you do have the right to decline a rental application if it is to protect your property from potential damage.
It is best to emphasise whether your property allows smoking or not. It’s your first step in screening your prospective tenants in order to lessen the number of rejections you would have to make.