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Should I Ban Smoking In My Rental Properties?

Kevin Perk
2 min read

I am thinking of adding a “no smoking” clause to my lease.  Do not get me wrong, I am not trying to be a nanny and say you should not smoke, quite the contrary.  I firmly believe that if you want to smoke you should be able to.  So why would I want to ban smoking in my properties?  It is simply because it affects my bottom line.

How Smoking Affects My Bottom Line

Let’s face it, smoking is a dirty habit.  When a tenant sits in their apartment and smokes, all of that smoke, tar and nicotine ends up staining my walls.   When the tenant moves my paint crew simply has to spend more on primer to cover these stains and thus more time on the job.  This time and material affects my bottom line.

The smell is also pervasive.  I get complaints from other non-smoking tenants about the smell drifting into their apartment.  When the tenant moves out, even after a complete paint job, the smell can still linger.  Many times we have to use an odor blocking product so that prospective tenants will not be turned off by the smell.  This treatment further affects my bottom line and frankly I would not mind reducing the number of complaint calls.

Burns are another problem.  It does not matter how careful the smoker is, at some point they are going to drop a lit cigarette on my floor.  Aside from the fire hazard posed, I now have to contend with burn marks.  Sometimes carpets have to be replaced, other times portions of hardwood floors have to be sanded and re-stained.  This all affects my bottom line.

Finally, I get tired of walking around my properties and seeing discarded cigarette butts on the sidewalk, on the lawn, in my newly mulched flower beds, basically all over.  Someone has to clean all of that up, again adding time and expense and affecting my bottom line.

Fewer and Fewer Prospective Tenants Are Smokers

According to the Centers for Disease Control the percentage of smokers is down to just above 19% of the total population.  That leaves over 80% of the population for me to work with.  While I do not think I could have successfully implemented a non-smoking policy a few years ago, with recent trends I think it may be the way to go.  Again this is not because I am a nanny, but because of the affect on my bottom line.

Let Me Know Your Thoughts

So what say you?  Has anyone else adopted such a policy with or without success?   Do you see non-smoking policies as a trend?  Would you or are you thinking of implementing such a policy?  Smokers are not a protected class so it can be done.   I know some local jurisdictions are trying to ban smoking in apartment buildings, but I think that is wrong as the decision should be left up to the owner.  Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

Photo: twm1340

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.