Renting to smokers

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    Renting to smokers

    Hi, I have a property that is currently on the market. One of the potential tenants has told me that he is a smoker, but promised to smoke outside the property. My concern is that if he does smoke in the house, it will be difficult for me to do anything about it.

    Can I seek the forum members' opinion on renting to smokers? Is it a strictly no? What's the estimated cost of restoring a property previously inhabited by smokers? Thank you.

    #2
    I have done it with a rent uplift. I divided the cost of redecorating by the number of months of the tenancy, and added that to the rent. Tenant seems to have thought it was fair enough, as they agreed this.

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      #3
      Ditto (although it's still too soon to know if it covered the cost, as I only do six month's tenancies and I spread the cost over 18 months.)

      I think it's good to find a tenant who'll own up, to be honest.
      Smokers are addicts and will go from always smoking outside to smoking in the doorway, through a window, with the window open and then, noticing the damage is done, inside because it can't get any worse.
      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

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        #4
        Thank you for the reply. What's the estimated cost of redecorating, assuming tenant smokes in the house? I have read on some websites that it can cost 10k or more, due to nicotine stains getting into paint, furniture, carpet, wood etc, which sounds like a lot to pay for renting to smokers...

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          #5
          It depends on the property.

          Carpets are an unknown - usually a good professional clean will be enough (but not for several years heavy smoking).
          Painting the walls and gloss usually hides the smell of smoke with a new paint smell.

          Some people will never be happy once a place has had a smoker.
          When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
          Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

          Comment


            #6
            Oh, well I wouldn't be renting furnished. As long as the carpet isn't burnt, it can probably be cleaned for a hundred'ish.

            Ask your decorator who painted for you the last time?

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              #7
              Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
              Carpets are an unknown - usually a good professional clean will be enough (but not for several years heavy smoking).
              Painting the walls and gloss usually hides the smell of smoke with a new paint smell.
              And after several years of being let, the carpets are probably due being replaced anyway.


              Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
              Some people will never be happy once a place has had a smoker.
              If its painted and cleaned right, they will never know.


              Redecoration cost would be similar as to a non smoker, decorator will need to undercoat with zinsser BIN or similar to block any smells/stains. Recently had one of our 3 bed semis decorated top to toe including doors (varnished pine) being taken off and painted white. This was £800 with an empty house (so he could come and go as he needed including all glosswork, ceilings etc. but get a local decorator in to quote.

              Budget for carpet replacement and make sure contract has a clause for a professional clean at the end of tenancy (as professionally cleaned carpets will do away with the smell).

              A good tenant will smoke outside like the say... But if its tipping it down, except door open with them poking their head out or some such...

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                #8
                I rented a newly refurbished studio to a smoker who promised me he would smoke in the garden. Two years later the flat was disgusting as not only had he smoked in the flat but he had his smoking friends in too. Filthy.

                Apart from redecorating and washing all the paintwork I had to throw out the new bed, curtains, carpet and even the underlay. The ceiling had suspended ceiling tiles which were stained brown. Just had them painted and hoped that would do. But the next tenant, and me, could still smell the nicotine so I had to get the ceiling tiles replaced as well.

                I would never, ever let to a smoker again.

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                  #9
                  Having experienced this - I would say that (in a decent property, non-furnished, with decent decorations, and not otherwise a "smoking" property") a rental uplift of around 15% to 20% would probably be a break even. If furnished make it 25%.

                  By the way, I always get cross when I see this nonsense about carpets lasting 5 years. My decent (highish end) carpets well fitted with decent tenants last 10 to 15 years and still look absolutely perfect with a clean every few years (just as they do in my home). Likewise decorations.

                  Redecorating is more than just the cost of the job -- it usually involves at least a month extra lost rent by the time it is coordinated.

                  The cost uplift as a percentage clearly diminishes dramatically with the duration of the tenancy as it does with pets -- so you could say 25% uplift in the first 6 months, then a small rent reduction in the second 6 months to say a 15% uplift, and then 5% thereafter.

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                    #10
                    You can say No Smokers but it is difficult to enforce once they have moved in.
                    If they don't return the property in similar condition to move you can deduct T damage from Deposit and sue for remainder, assuming you have good move in/out condition reports.

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                      #11
                      Best to have "no smoking inside the building" (clearly prohibiting it in a garden would be not a useful clause).

                      My best-ever tenants (twice, different houses) did smoke, on doorstep, even in bad winters in Scottish highlands: They were 'arder than me...

                      But yes, I try to avoid smokers...
                      I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by mariner View Post
                        You can say No Smokers but it is difficult to enforce once they have moved in.
                        If they don't return the property in similar condition to move you can deduct T damage from Deposit and sue for remainder, assuming you have good move in/out condition reports.
                        The fly in the ointment is what a condition report means in terms of returning property to a similar condition -- it would have to involve taking biopsies of multiple parts of property and doing chemical analyses for tar, nicotine, various oils and stains and other noxious things. In practice the damage is extensive but pretty hard to document exactly. This is the whole pitfall of the idea that somehow a deposit adjudicator can assess damage, based on condition reports that can never ever be all inclusive (you can never video, photograph and analyse every cubic inch of a property in advance)

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                          #13
                          Insisting that tenants take a urine test before the AST is signed -- is determining whether someone is a liar a breach of human rights?

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                            #14
                            This discussion is interesting. How many of you expect that, in accordance with the 'Conservative' government's current witch-hunt against private landlords, that it will eventually be made illegal to discriminate against smokers or indeed any kind of drug addict? And how long before there will be 5 yearly (very expensive) mandatory psychological assessments for landlords to ensure their 'Fitness To Rent'?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by LandlordsandLetting View Post
                              And how long before there will be 5 yearly (very expensive) mandatory psychological assessments for landlords to ensure their 'Fitness To Rent'?
                              I think you'll just have to learn to parrot the politically correct nonsense the powers that be want to hear. We do it already here on landlordzone.

                              I am presently re-reading George Orwell's 'Nineteen Eighty-Four'. I first read this about 40 years ago at school, and thought it was fantasy. Now however, almost every page strikes a chord.

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