Last week we were called by a new landlord asking for advice.
She was one of what’s been commonly described in the media as an ‘accidental landlord.’
Having bought a flat ten years ago, met a gentleman, got married and recently bought a home together, she still has her flat.
Being a first-time landlord, she had a lot of questions which we were happy to answer without any obligation on her behalf.
Her main question was one we hear often from people who are new to the rental property industry.
She wanted to know how she could protect her property against damage from smokers as a friend of hers had issues with a tenant around this subject.
Firstly there is nothing illegal about stating you want non smokers.
On the tenancy forms we use there’s several boxes which include questions including: Will any of the tenants’ smoke?
When a prospective tenant ticks no this forms part of the rental contract. If they subsequently are smokers who then smoke inside the property they are in breach of the contract and action can be taken if necessary.
We’ve also seen some tenancy agreements which forbid smoking by the entrances of or within a certain number of metres from the building where the property is being rented.
During our 25 years of being a letting agent we must say most people answer the yes / no questions honestly.
The smoking issue has been in decline as cultural attitudes change towards the nicotine habit. Less people are smoking nowadays and those that do tend to smoke outside properties in our experience.
However, it’s something we look at during our property checks. Discolouration of the walls and curtains and the tobacco smell is obviously a big clue someone’s smoking in the property. But, as mentioned, it is now a rare occurrence.
If it does happen the tenant could be in line to pay for professional cleaners to come in or in some extreme cases the redecoration of rooms. It would also be highly unlikely that the landlord would want to renew the tenancy at the end of the contract.
Thanks for reading and if you have any other property related questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us – we’d love to help you.
Peter Hall, Lettings Director