Tenant smoking in unit?

5 Replies

Hey guys, I am brand new at being a landlord. Just moved my first tenant in last week. To give some background my wife and I recently purchased a duplex and we are living in one unit and renting out the other. I have a strict no smoking policy in my lease and she had to be a non smoker for me to even consider her as a tenant. We have a shared foyer and it has started to smell like smoke/marijuana since the tenant moved in. I am thinking/hoping that it is just because she has some friends that smoke and the smell is being carried in on their clothes. I am wondering if you have any advice on how to find out if the tenant and/or her guests are smoking in the unit? 

Smoke Nazi. That is just part of the joy of house hacking. It's hard to find renters with the same values as the owners.

Let her know that you smell  tobacco smoke and marijuana smoke in the foyer, and you are concerned about it. Then pause and let her say something. If you refrain from talking, the tenant will fill in the silent pause with words of their own... human nature. There may be clues in what she says. After she has her say, restate your policy and tell her that smoking anywhere on the premises is a deal breaker and that she needs to make sure all her guests do not violate any terms of the rental agreement.

Whenever we notice a tenant breaking one of the terms of our rental agreement, we watch more carefully and may even decide it's time for some maintenance or a periodic inspection of the unit. I would not let this slide. You need to get inside the unit to determine if the smoke odor is found within. Smokers tend to not notice these odors and often think you can't either. Some will burn incense, scented candles, or use air fresheners to cover up the odor before you come in. That's a sign.

@Marcia Maynard Wonderful advice here! Reminds me of the book "Never Split the Difference" by Chris Voss. Planting that "anchor" and letting the silence settle in as an amazing experiment. The results never disappoint! 

I also think there are people who don't get that smoking includes marijuana, water pipes and other forms of smoking weed. They have some notion that you cant recognize the smell too... You may need to dispel that idea.

Suggest they bake or use edibles instead of lighting it up

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