Tenants faced with smoking ban
Are smoking tenants placed with a disadvantage when it comes to finding a property to rent?
Landlords seem to have become stricter when it comes to accepting tenants who smoke. Figures suggest that only 10% of landlords are happy to let people smoke in their properties. According to government figures 21% (10 million) of the population are smokers. As a result smokers are finding it increasingly difficult to find rental property which will accept them. Smokers are now lying on their application forms or directly misleading landlords in order to secure a home for themselves.
Research has shown that landlords feel so strongly about people smoking in their property that they would go as far as evicting them if they knew their tenants lit a cigarette indoors.
It seems that since the smoking ban was enforced in the UK in 2007 in pub, clubs and restaurants, attitudes are starting to change, with a 66% reduction in properties available to those who smoke.
Why are smokers a problem for landlords?
You’re a good tenant, looking after the house and paying your rent in full and on time. Why, is it a problem that you smoke?
It seems that landlords are concerned with the damage that cigarette smoke can cause to their property. Landlord’s biggest concern is that the smell of smoke will get into the fixtures and fittings of the property, particularly, carpets, curtains, wall paper and sometimes even staining of the ceiling.
This damage can cause the landlord problems when it comes to re-letting the property as smokers and non-smokers alike are put off by smelly properties. In some cases landlords are forced to re-carpet and re-decorate the whole property in order to secure a new suitable tenant.
Tips for smokers to secure the rental property they want
- Dont smoke in the house. Inform the landlord or agent that you don’t smoke in the house/flat and stick to your promise.
- Take tenants contents insurance. Reassure the landlord that there will be no large expense for them due to damages at the end of the tenancy agreement.
- Encourage regular inspections. Let the landlord know that they are able to visit the property regularly to reassure themselves that you are looking after the property well.
- Get a reference. Ask your existing landlord/agent to write you a reference with details how well you have looked after your current property.
- Ask to meet the landlord in person. Sometimes the landlord asks the letting agent to find them non smoking tenants, as this is their preference. An agent will look for a tenant that matches the landlord’s requirements. However, tenants can have that personal touch with landlords. Meeting a landlord face to face can take the emphasis off whether you smoke or not, and place it on what a nice person you are, and what a good tenant you would be.
- Don’t smell of smoke. Don’t smoke before viewing a property or meeting with the letting agent or landlord.