Tenant damage due to smoking

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    Tenant damage due to smoking

    Dear all,

    I have had some tenants leave a 2 bed flat which they stayed in since mid 2016 and even though smoking was prohibited, there was a discernible smell of smoke in the property which I can't get rid of.

    I'm going to repaint the whole property and also put in new carpets throughout and was now wondering whether there's a part of the cost of doing so that's down to the tenant causing damage by smoking.

    How often would new carpets and a new lick of paint typically be applied? I of course can't claim the cost of this if it's fully down to wear and tear, my thinking is to charge 20% of the cost due to the smoking, the rest on wear and tear assuming that once every five years these works would need to be done irrespective of use. Is that reasonable or too strict?

    I don't want to withhold the deposit if I then lose the case.

    PS: before you ask - I've fired the letting agents who in their quarterly inspection reports never mentioned that the tenants were smoking...

    #2
    I think 20% is fair. Good luck with the adjudicator.

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      #3
      In my view it would be extremely difficult for you to satisfy the adjudicator that they were smokers who actually have damaged the carpets. Because almost everyone must have experienced that even if your neighbour is smoking outside of their property adjacent next to you or at their upstairs windows then still it will be dissolved into the ambience of your own bedrooms especially during summers.

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        #4
        It depends what is said in the TA. Some prohibit smoking anywhere on or in the property, particularly specifying the garden.

        There would have to be a number of smokers with all the windows open blowing smoke directly into the property to affect it to the extent of smelling smoke months afterwards

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          #5
          What do the tenants say is a reasonable amount?

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            #6
            If you loose all costs apply to you.

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              #7
              Thanks for all your comments.

              The tenancy agreement specifies smoking is strictly prohibited anywhere in the flat (it's fourth floor so no garden and no chance for cross contamination).

              The tenants don't respond to questions so they haven't said they would accept any deduction.

              I guess I'll go ahead with 20% - I was hoping there are typical wear and tear periods so it doesn't just depend on what I'm making up?

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                #8
                I think the 5 years you are working on is reasonable.

                Some years ago, I pointed out that I should also be able to ask for the same proportion of rent lost while the work is done. I was quickly shouted down, and no-one gets any consideration for this, as far as I know.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by ChrisDennison View Post
                  I guess I'll go ahead with 20% - I was hoping there are typical wear and tear periods so it doesn't just depend on what I'm making up?
                  There are typical lifetimes, but they're not all the same.
                  Which makes sense, because not all carpets are the same and not all tenants are the same.

                  Your deposit protection company may have some guidelines online.
                  The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks produce a guide to fair wear and tear.
                  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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                    #10
                    jpkeates and JK0: Super, thanks for these pointers!

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                      #11
                      I work on the basis of replacing carpets after 5 years and repainting after 3 years, but only when property becomes vacant after that time.

                      Note that with smoking there is not only the smell, there is also nicotine stains, particularly on ceilings, so there is extra cost which should be claimable.

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                        #12
                        I had to scrub one of the ceilings in a bungalow I got back - it was disgusting. The whole place was stained with nicotine and it took a lot of work to get it back to white. Grrrrr.

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                          #13
                          all very helpful, many thanks!

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