Inherited Tenants

5 Replies

Hello BP Community,

It appears as if I will be inheriting tenants in one unit of a duplex I am purchasing.  

Here is my questions:

The current tenants are smokers, the unit reeks of smoke, and I can't imagine the damage that has been done to the place over their 7 year tenancy.  My policy for rental screening is "no smokers allowed", however I understand that these tenants pay on time and are nice, quiet people.

Because I suppose the damage is already done, should I just let them stay and go through the necessary rehab when they vacate eventually?

@Adam Shindler In my opinion, you have long terms tenants that pay on time. The damage has already been done on the unit. I would let them stay and when they leave go through the rehab. Is there a security deposit that you will collect from them? If so, when they move out, discuss keeping some or all of it to clean the unit. 

Keep in mind, the AC/Heating system will have the same smoker's residue as the interior of the unit.  Fixing that will most likely be the larger expense.  Keep changing filters to maximize the life, but budget accordingly.

Let them stay as long as possible, the damage is done.

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1.  I would grandfather them in as "smokers", however I would not allow them to continue to smoke inside the unit or on the premises. Although the unit is already damaged, no need to allow it to get worse. Also, since it is a duplex, smoking on the property can have a negative affect on the other tenant too. 

2.  Replacing of furnace filters more often on the smoker's unit is important to keep the furnace working and to prevent more nicotine residue from getting into the air ducts. Smokers cost a landlord more money than a non-smokers. Make sure their rent is sufficient enough to cover the added ongoing expense. 

3.  Make sure their security deposit is sufficient to cover the extra turnover costs and your extra risk. You may require the unit to be cleaned now at their expense to bring it back closer to baseline. Arrange for professional cleaning of the HVAC system, ducts, carpets, walls, woodwork, cabinets, windows, blinds, appliances, etc. Their furniture and clothing will trap the odors from smoking too, so as long as they live there the place will retain the foul odor. White vinegar evaporating in a pan and/or used to wash surfaces will help to eliminate smoke odors.

4.  There is more risk of fire when renting to smokers. Require they obtain and maintain sufficient Renter's Insurance. Name you as a party of "additional interest" so you can monitor the policy to make sure it stays in force. Check all the smoke detectors on a regular basis. Despite rules that forbid smoking in the unit, "smokers" often will smoke inside again anyway, so be sure to do more frequent property inspections.

You could implement new rules as you are a new owner BUT who says they will listen.

STEP 1: Give them a new lease and point out in the lease "NO SMOKING". It all needs to be written down so the tenants and landlord have expectations in place.

IF they don't comply than you maybe forced to terminate lease and ask them to leave. BUT currently they have free will to do what they want. 

Then do everything @Marcia Maynard wrote.

Or give them 30days to leave the property if you're super concerned about it and spend a few thousand in rehab costs to fix up the unit.

Personally let them stay and keep collecting rent and budget of when they move out