Landlords say NO SMOKING!

As nipping out to the supermarket for a pack of cigs just got a little bit harder thanks to the government banning large stores from displaying cigarettes, just how are landlords and tenants getting on with the ‘smoke or not to smoke’ debate?

Landlords say no smoking

From recent research carried out by the situation can only be described as ‘fuming’ for tenants as growing numbers of landlords ban those who smoke. In 2010 31% of members would tolerate a smoking tenant, a figure which has dropped to just 18% today from 15,174 landlord adverts surveyed. With 80,000 smoking-related deaths annually, the government’s campaign seems finally to be taking effect but views are polarised between landlords who won’t allow smoking and tenants who can’t give up cigarettes but who don’t want it to affect their chances of finding somewhere to live.

Cigarette burns

Chelford landlord Tony says: “I used to allow smoking in my flatshare but I started seeing cigarette burns on my sofa.” Tony also occasionally found it hard to let a room: “One tenant said the reason they didn’t want the room was because the house smelled of smoke.” As well as potential burns to furniture, landlords worry too about added maintenance costs from smoking such as increased decoration. Many tenancy agreements now contain smoking clauses with tenants forced to pay for damage found to be caused by smoking. Sam Haidar of the National Landlords Association says that most tenancy agreements now contain anti-smoking clauses as landlords fear expensive redecoration costs: “Smoking can impair the property, with cigarette burns, smell etc, and therefore affect the future letting of the property. It also costs to have carpets and curtains cleaned after smoking tenants in order to prepare the property to be re-let.”

Smoking causes insanity

Flat hunting sharers often find that their choices are limited if they insist on smoking. Self- confessed nicotine addict John from Warrington- says: “I prefer to be able to smoke inside but, if it means getting a place or not, then I’d accept the rules,” adding that he wouldn’t however ‘want people getting on my back for smoking outside the back door’. No tenant wants to be a passive smoker yet Angie who rents a two bedroom flat in Rusholme finds her health and her sanity affected by smokers despite her own flat being a smoke-free zone: “The landlord next door doesn’t allow smoking so his tenants smoke outside on the balcony which is right next to my bedroom. As well as smoke drifting in through my windows they chat and laugh late into the night so I can’t sleep. It’s driving me mad!”

With flat sharing being massively popular in these cash strapped times then tolerating someone who promises to only smoke outside must surely be a good thing says Gareth Pugh, owner of Flatshare website Gareth says that he wasn’t surprised by his company’s research and advises smokers to carefully read their tenancy agreements, not to inflict passive smoking on their long suffering flatmates and, if they must indulge themselves, advises donning an extra pair of long johns and heading outside: “Just have a smoke outside the back door but dispose of your cigarette butt properly. Don’t get temped to flick it in the garden!”
--posted by Ginetta Vedrickas, @Ginettav
Journalist interested in property, travel, education

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