Can You Stop Tenant Smoking in You’re Property?
How do you feel about having a tenant who smokes? That’s because, chances are, with more than seven million smokers in the UK, there’s a good chance you’ll get one at some point.
Official statistics say that only around 14.7 per cent of the population are regular smokers – and only seven per cent of rental properties will welcome them. That’s a shame because by stating that you don’t take smokers as tenants, you are narrowing the field in terms of tenants. And whose to say that just because a person smokes they aren’t a fabulous tenant?
But then, for landlords, having a regular smoker in their property can prove a bit of a nightmare. There’s that lingering tobacco smell, for instance, and which doesn’t go just because your tenant does; it sticks to the cushions, curtains and carpets. There is also the possibility of your tenants falling asleep and causing a burn in the sofa, bed clothing or – worse – a fire in the flat. It’s not too hard then to understand why many landlords state ‘no smokers’ on their advert.
Can a Landlord Stop a Tenant From Smoking?
The Health Act 2006 outlawed smoking in public premises such as pubs, restaurants, shops and workplaces. The point was to limit the damage caused by smoking to members of the public. The legislation came into effect 12 months later.
The law does apply to private rented property – but only if it is a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO). This could be a student flat, property for a handful of young professionals etc. In other words, there are more than one family living in it – several members of the public, in fact. It can’t be used for a self-contained flat.
You could put up signs in a shared kitchen, bathroom, hallway etc stating that smoking isn’t permitted in these communal areas. If a tenant did smoke in these areas he could be fined by the local council and asked to leave the property as a result of breaking the law.
How Do Landlords Enforce No Smoking?
The only way you can enforce a no smoking ban in your buy to let property is really to state this in a clause in the Tenancy Agreement. That way, if a tenant or their visitors did continue to smoke when you had asked them not to, they would be breaking the Tenancy Agreement and could be evicted.
This would be under Ground 12 of the eviction procedure, which covers breaking one or two of the Tenancy Agreement clauses. This wouldn’t always work though as the court could decide not to grant you possession of your property if the tenant was paying his or her rent on time and not causing any bother in any other sense.
You could though, use the deposit to pay for any damage caused by smoking and to instigate a professional deep clean at the end of the tenancy.
Prior to all this you could always, of course, ask them to go outside if they smoke.
How to Avoid Getting a Tenant Who Smokes
- Check out a prospective tenant for tobacco stained fingers and the smell of tobacco.
- You could always ask them if they smoke and say it’s because it’s a non-smoking flat so wouldn’t suit them if they did.
- State you’re looking for non-smokes on your advert.
What if Your Tenant Uses E-Cigarettes?
There are around three million people in the UK who currently vape (use e-cigs). This is a recent thing and as such, legislation really hasn’t caught up. In other words, there is none. It’s up to you whether or not you’re ok with your tenant vaping in your property.
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