This is the second post looking at the ten most common tenancy agreement breaches by tenants, as identified by Direct Line in their survey, which I discussed in the introduction to this series.
The Direct Line survey gives the percentage of tenants who smoke inside the property as 21% which is quite high. Obviously at least one in five tenants smoke.
As regards the penalties, to a certain extent it depends on where you smoke.
The Smoking Regulations
Under the Health Act 2006 regulations came into force in April 2007 smoking is now prohibited in all premises which are ‘open to the public’. This does not apply to private residential accommodation – however, there are some exceptions. These include:
- Areas used in common in relation to more than one set of premises
- Private dwellings that are used or visited as a place of work by one or more people who do not live there (except where that work is providing personal care; domestic work; maintenance; or installation, maintenance, or removal of any services)
- Bedrooms in hotels, guest houses, inns, hostels, or member’s clubs that are not designated as a smoking bedroom; and all dormitories
So if you live in an HMO where you have your own tenancy agreement for your own room – you will be breaking the law if you smoke in any living areas which are shared with other tenants.
If your landlord has an HMO license it is also likely that the license will specify that the whole property must be smoke-free (as among other things, smoking is a fire hazard).
So if your landlord allows you to carry on smoking in the common areas in most HMOs – and anywhere in an HMO if the license prohibits smoking – he will be in trouble. He could even be prosecuted and fined by the Local Authority.
He will, therefore, be under a duty to ask you to stop – and if you carry on smoking regardless, he will be well within his rights if he asks you to leave.
In some properties you will be allowed to smoke either in your room (for an HMO) or in the property for a normal tenancy (although the number is dwindling). However, you will still have the next problem.
Deductions from your deposit
The other thing about smoking – apart from the health and fire safety aspects, is that it makes the premises smell and can also make them dirty. So if at the end of your tenancy the checkout inspection reveals that the curtains stink and there are nicotine stains on the wall – the cost of cleaning will be taken from your deposit.
Which could be expensive.
All in all, you should make a real effort to smoke outside the building. It will be better in the long term.