Allowing tenants to smoke inside a property can increase maintenance costs by discoloring walls and leaving a lingering smell. Many landlords choose to make their properties nonsmoking and implement a nonsmoking lease to impose liability on tenants who choose to violate the terms. Adding a nonsmoking clause or addendum to a lease can protect property managers from damages caused by smoking.
How to Write a No-Smoking Lease
State the unit or property is nonsmoking directly below the title of the lease or next to the name of the unit. Place the words “Nonsmoking Unit” in parentheses below the words “Lease Agreement” at the beginning of the document or add the words “Nonsmoking Unit” after a comma following the name or address of the unit or property.
Create a section of your lease entitled “Nonsmoking Policy.” This section fits well below the “Maintenance and Condition” section or “Pets” section.
State the purpose of the nonsmoking policy. In most cases, this will consist of negative health effects, comfort of adjacent property owners, additional maintenance of the property and increased risk of fire.
Define smoking. Failure to describe the types of smoking prohibited could lead to legal loopholes. For example, if you mention cigarette smoke and your tenant smokes cigars, they might have grounds to argue against any claims filed by you for damages. State that carrying lighted cigars, cigarettes or other lighted products through the property also is prohibited.
Outline the terms of the nonsmoking agreement. State the tenant and landlord agree the property is designated as nonsmoking and the tenant agrees not to smoke in the property, on the grounds or in public areas connected to the property. Include a statement the tenant will prohibit guests and visitors from smoking on the property and in the unit as well.
Add a disclaimer. If your rental property is multiunit, your tenants still might be subject to secondhand smoke by other tenants in violation of the no-smoking policy. State you are not guaranteeing a totally smoke-free environment or making any claims the air quality in the unit is safer than that of any other rental property.
Describe the consequences for violating the nonsmoking policy. The tenant might forfeit all or a portion of his security deposit or be subject to eviction for violating the policy. Be specific about what steps will be taken if the tenant is found to have violated this policy.
Tips & Warnings
- A nonsmoking policy also might be attached to a lease in the form of an addendum. To accomplish this, create another document entitled “Addendum to Lease” that includes the name of the property and names and addresses of the tenant and landlord. The information to be included is the same as that outlined above. Signatures of both parties should be required on all separate documents attached to a residential lease.