The smoking rate continues to decline in the United States, but there are still plenty of people that do it. Many landlords prohibit smoking in their rental properties because of the damage it can do to the unit, including the powerful smell. For landlords, tenants who smoke on the sly can leave them with a big problem when they vacate.
Why Does Smoke Smell in a Rental Home Linger?
The smell of smoke will linger in a room long after the smoker has vacated the unit. The combination of nicotine and chemicals coat every surface and seep into the walls, ceiling, carpet and floors. Certain materials, like drywall or fabric, are absorbent. They hold onto the smoke residue for a long time, giving off that stale smoke smell for months or even years.
The chemical residue left behind from smokers can even affect the health of subsequent residents, according to some of the latest studies. This is known as third-hand smoke exposure. Also, since most non-smokers find the smell of cigarette smoke to be unpleasant, landlords will have a hard time renting their property if it stinks.
How to Get Rid of Cigarette Smell in a Rental
There are many different things that landlords can do to get rid of smoke smell in a rental property. It takes time, money and a little patience.
The first thing is to wash the walls, ceilings and hard flooring surface well with a vinegar solution. Leave the windows open for a day or two to get fresh air circulating.
If the smell still comes out from the walls, landlords can repaint using special products designed to block odors and stains. There are also industrial strength cleaning products that claim to be able to eliminate smoke smell. The unit’s air ducts and furnace may also need to be professionally cleaned.
Even after professional cleaning, many landlords find they need to replace the carpet and padding. That’s because these fabrics are very absorbent and the fibers hold tight to the chemicals.
Finally, landlords can try several different deodorizing products, such as charcoal, fabric fresheners, ozone generators and odor removing packets.
RentPrep’s Take on the Smoke Smell in a Rental Home
RentPrep encourages landlords to try several different things to find a deodorizing combination that works for their unique circumstances. As more and more tenants are non-smoking, the demand for fresh, smoke-free rental properties will grow. In an extreme situation, there are even companies that will do heavy-duty cleaning.
On the other hand, as fewer rental properties today allow smokers, it’s harder for them to find a place. If the circumstances are right, landlords could provide smoking rentals for this under-served segment of the rental population. Of course, landlords should do what is best for them and their business.
What Are Other Landlords Saying About the Smoke Smell in a Rental
Every landlord wants their rental property to be as inviting and clean as possible. Smoking in the rental can have long-lasting effects on the structure as well as the health of the future tenants.
Here’s a screenshot of landlords discussing this question in our private Facebook group for Landlords.