Extra rent for renting to a smoker?

36 Replies

I have an application from a lady that other than being a smoker, I would rent to.

Does anyone know of anything that would prevent me from charging extra rent and collecting a larger deposit to protect myself from the risk that she smokes inside the home?

Have her pre-pay to have the HVAC system including the ducts cleaned, and all the walls washed.

@Russ O'Leary

Under no circumstances let her smoke inside unless you plan on doing a complete wall scrub and probable repaint when she leaves. Tell her she can smoke outside, if you find she is smoking inside she will be in violation of the lease and evicted. Believe me, it’s not worth the hassle.

Yeah, I have no intention of letting her smoke inside and she has indicated that she never does. I've always defaulted to "no smokers". But this gal does seem to check all the boxes except non smoker. I'm just thinking of charging extra rent and a 150% normal deposit as a "risk reduction technique".

Are tenants hard to find for this property? If not, I'd pass. We don't rent to smokers. Even if they smoke outside, the smell gets inside.

@John Teachout Not super hard to find. But the time of year is not optimal. We are going into winter and we've already passed the fall student rush. I've had the property listed for 2 weeks and I haven't been impressed with the applicants I have so far. I've passed already on 3. I'm not in a rush, but I would like to get the place rented.

That said, I do intend to do a major rehab on this property in the next couple years. So, I'm more inclined to take the risk that I do end up with smoke smell, as long as I get compensated with higher rent.

Hi

ive used a  ( reme halo) germicidal system . They work gr8 for getting out all kinds of smells  and sanitize the air.  They are made by RGF,(i think) . Now home depot sells them. I LOVE it.

Good luck

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Let me get this straight. You don't even want smokers living in your rentals period? I understand not wanting them smoking inside, but it's not like you're selling them health insurance. While smokers are not a protected class, it is the textbook definition of discrimination imo. Do inspections and if it smells like smoke take action. I don't think I know a single person who smokes inside their home any more.

"That said, I do intend to do a major rehab on this property in the next couple years. So, I'm more inclined to take the risk that I do end up with smoke smell, as long as I get compensated with higher rent."

If you are planning on doing a major rehab anyway, what difference does it make? Why should she pay extra security when you are going to spend money to rehab anyway? I do not understand why this is even an issue. 

Just stipulate that it is a no smoking unit/property. Put it in the lease. 

I have folks that smoke and they dont smoke inside. In this day and age its a given you dont smoke inside 

@Russ O'Leary , when I was a smoker, I also 'didn't smoke inside' until it got super cold outside, then all bets were off. 

However, I also just bought a former smoker's house to live in personally. It REEKED. I bought this ozone machine on Amazon and ran it probably 9 times. No more smoke smell.

Read this thread, too. https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/52-rental-property-questions-landlording-issues/topics/773844-ohio-tenant-landlord-laws-cigarette-smoking-damage?page=1#p4546281

@Matthew Meikle I think the law is pretty clear that it is not discrimination. It is a choice.

Unfortunately, in the years we've been doing this rental business, some folks have simply ignored the "no smoking inside" lease stipulation. One guy recently, when asked if he smoked in the house during his move out walkthrough, said "no, I never smoked in the house". When we walked down into the basement, there were cigarette butts laying all over a workbench. We said, "what about these". He said, "well I did smoke in the basement, but that isn't really in the house" *facepalm*

The point is, some folks just don't obey the rules.

My questions has more to do with the risk vs. reward. I am wondering if anyone knows of anything that would stop me from charging extra rent/deposit to rent to a smoker. It is not that different than charging pet rent/deposit, in my opinion.

@Dennis Cosgrave I guess I should have said "I might do a major renovation".

It just depends on where I'm at when this tenant moves out. I might just re-rent if I don't have the time to take on another rehab project at that moment in time. This property is a B- or C+ rental (clean, but outdated). I don't usually like playing in that space. So eventually, I'd like this place to be an A class unit. This is about protecting myself from the loss associated with extra cleaning/painting when they move out.

@Mindy Jensen It is funny how often people just blatantly lie about their smoking habits. Even if they do smoke outside, the smell often follows them inside on their clothes or just by way of the window or door being open.

I've heard the ozone machines can work wonders. I've yet to go down that route.

@Russ O'Leary , hard pass!

Even if somebody smokes outside, it leaks inside.  That significantly increases the likelihood of vacancy after they move out; who wants to live in a smoke scented home?!  You can get rid of the scent but that's lost time.

Even as @Mindy Jensen pointed out, at some point they will be smoking inside.  Even if that's right outside the door or window because of the weather.

To answer your question though; I would charge them for quarterly cleanings of the HVAC unit and write in the lease that smoke scent is damage to the property, therefore you will take all actions to remove scent at their cost and this does include vacancy.  I would also plan on painting and replacing carpet.

If you have other options, I would look elsewhere.  You need to protect your investment.

PASS!  I do short term rentals.  COmpany agent called me to book 2 workers.  Explained it is strictly non smoking (fully furnished property). Agent said no problem and assured me on three occasion (hint:no problem= yes they do smoke but they won't tell you).  Tenants understood and signed lease and smoking clause ins in there twice , about 4 paragaraph worth, as did company rep.  13 days later while installing something, I saw cigarettes and packs and butts inside.  Tenants stated they never smoked in and only outside on the patio. (violation anywhere on property). Day 17 they are out for lease violation and day 18 on inspection I find a 1/2 smoked dweeb in bedroom drawer.  MY POINT: don't allow smoking UNLESS your property is a smoking only property.  They will smoke indoors (98% of the time).  Nothing against smokers as we all have our vices. BUT protecting investment is the upmost importance ...and collecting rent.  

@Russ O'Leary . Ok here it goes.

1.Rent to her with increased rent and increased security deposit.

2. Your unit will smell like smoke she is gonna smoke inside.

3. Zap her security deposit when she moves out she should get zilch meaning zero.

4. Use her security deposit to buy an ozone machine and a decent one turn the hvac on fan not heat or cool and let it run while the fan runs and smoke will disappear.

Originally posted by @Matthew Meikle :

Let me get this straight. You don't even want smokers living in your rentals period? I understand not wanting them smoking inside, but it's not like you're selling them health insurance. While smokers are not a protected class, it is the textbook definition of discrimination imo. Do inspections and if it smells like smoke take action. I don't think I know a single person who smokes inside their home any more.

If that question was for me, the answer is yes. We won't rent to a smoker. They claim to not smoke indoors but even if they don't, the smell still gets inside and permeates things. They're not a protected class and I realize they need to live someplace but not in our place. And we also won't allow cats. We're just mean I guess.

 

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