Apartment saturated in pot smoke

16 Replies

I bought my first 4 unit last month. I have given a month-to-month tenant notice that I will not be renewing his lease. His apartment is saturated with pot smoke. I'm assuming the apartment will need to be wiped down top to bottom to remove the odor. The apartment does not have carpet or fabric curtains, so that's a plus. Do you think I will need to repaint? I'm trying to get an idea of what should be held from his security deposit. Thanks!

Does the previous owner's lease you inherited during the purchase specifically say no smoking? Did the tenant sign any no smoking or no marijuana addenda during their lease signing? I would assess a smoke/odor removal fee deducted from the security deposit.

I had a house like this and the carpet held the odor but the rest was okay once they were gone. It wasn't nearly as bad as cigarette smoke. We were lucky in that only a closet was carpeted and it cleaned fine.  As for the painting I was painting anyway and you may need to do so also due to turnover. You really should only charge the above and beyond normal turnover charges.

Thanks for the replies. Yes, there is a small section of the lease where the tenant agreed that there would be no smoking inside the premises. It does not state marijuana specifically, just "smoking" in general. 

Use TSP and Bleach in a bucket of hot water. Wash down all walls and ceilings. Paint when dry. If there is still major discoloration after wash down. Primer Paint with Kilz, then put a coat of paint. Remove all carpets and wash all floors when complete with paint. Enjoy!

Originally posted by @Mike Cumbie :

Raise the rent 30% and market it as an old Cheech and Chong movie set that is fetching a premium.

Lemons...Lemonade!

Dave ? , Daves not here 

clearly nobody here is familiar with marijuana. I am almost 100% certain that once the tenant moves out and has a day to air out, there will be no smell at all. Marijuana does not do that like cigarettes. Maybe they smoked both and the marijuana is just overpowering it right now. If that's the case then yes cigarette smoke is nasty stuff that will require deep clean and possible painting. Good luck!!

Originally posted by @Charlie John :

clearly nobody here is familiar with marijuana. I am almost 100% certain that once the tenant moves out and has a day to air out, there will be no smell at all. Marijuana does not do that like cigarettes. Maybe they smoked both and the marijuana is just overpowering it right now. If that's the case then yes cigarette smoke is nasty stuff that will require deep clean and possible painting. Good luck!!

Are you talking from personal experience  as far as the marijuana goes ? 

I enjoyed this post and may confront  this as my state just legalized it recently. 

George recites my basic tobacco recipe...  A bit more detail

TSP, then rinse with water before it dries; I use the simple kitchen mop that has the wringer, ideally one for wood floors that hold less water;

Then after wall dries next day, go with the sealer.... I'd go with an oil based or shellac and use a respirator. You are in landlord chemistry class here, and certain sealers will cover certain smells better, so maybe research some on Marijuana, but for tobacco (probably close) I have had luck with an oil based (kilz) or shellac sealer for odor. For Shellac, and over the counter (Zinser) works or the store brands of Ben Moore or Sherwin. They clean up with ammonia well, too. 

Then paint...

Now, this is simply the sheetrock. 

I would TSP (same recipe) all doors, all trim, cabinets etc and go with a poly/stain combo (like Poly shades, for one step) on wood finish. You will need to delaminate glossy surface faces with the abrasive side of a simple scrub sponge. Just use it with the hot water TSP solution. Or coat with a sealer and paint if painted surface after same prep...

Now, you said no carpet.. Good. But you will need to probably sand and refinish wood floors. Or if laminate, I 'd pull it, seal underneath on the sub floor and put down new flooring...

Deposit? Well, this process could run 5-10 times that (if you count labor) but could actually be done for a reasonable amount if you do all the labor yourself and the unit is not too large. Just decide if you want to chase the tenant for more, document, and keep the deposit (follow rules on offset)....

On the bright side, I lose about 5-10 lbs doing this evening and weekends on a high odor turn around. I have never had an massive marijuana damaged unit, so let us know what takes that smell out or if this standard routine does it. 

Good luck! 

Spend $100 on an Ozone Generator after cleaning the carpets and washing the walls down. Make sure everything is dry before you do or the machine can convert h2o into hydrogen peroxide and could result in staining.

All smoke will stay with a unit in some manner, pot included. Someone burning a meatloaf often enough will stay with a unit. I would definitely plan on paint. Pot is *usually* not as bad as cigarettes because pot is not smoked as often as cigarettes, i.e. someone may smoke a joint or two and that's the sum of it, whereas smokers will often go through a couple of packs per day, and if there's multiple people they will each have their own cigarettes. If anyone was smoking pot that way you can guarantee the same sticky good would be on everything as it is from cigarettes. 

At a minimum I would paint the ceilings, as that is where most smoke attaches itself. 

Thanks for all the info everyone! I will have to assess the situation after he moves out. I agree that I don't think it will be nearly as bad as cigarette smoke. I'll follow up here in 5-6 weeks with an update on what if anything needed to be done to make it rent ready. 

This wasn't a surprise as it was very obvious during my inspections of the property. The previous landlord was aware of the situation and didn't seem to mind that the tenant was breaking the non-smoking lease agreement.