Allowing tenants to smoke cigarettes inside your property can destroy your ability to rent or resell your property. Cigarette smoke sticks to walls, drapes, carpet, and even ceiling tiles in a form of sticky residue. This sticky residue, known as “third-hand smoke,” can linger for years unless it’s intentionally cleaned up.
Not only does third-hand smoke residue turn walls and drapes yellow over time, but it presents a serious health hazard to occupants. Worse, it scares off potential buyers.
So, what about vaping? Is it any different? Should you allow tenants to vape inside your Katy, Texas rental property? The answer depends on how much cleanup work you’re willing to perform.
Vaping leaves behind an oily residue
Although e-cigarette vapor contains less nicotine than tobacco cigarettes, studies have shown that vaping leaves behind an oily residue that can damage your property. Oil tends to attract dust and other small particles, so having your walls coated with vaping oil residue could cause a dirty, greasy buildup.
Vaping residue is less damaging than tobacco
Although both types of residues can damage your property, vaping causes slightly less damage.
- Vaping residue won’t stain the walls. Unlike cigarettes, you don’t have to worry about vaping residue staining the walls.
- Vaping residue doesn’t build-up quickly. Cigarette smoke residue will build-up fast, but vaping residue collects slowly.
- Vaping residue doesn’t stink. While cigarette smoke residue creates a potent and foul odor rather quickly, vaping residue doesn’t generally smell bad. However, people with sensitivities can still be overwhelmed by the smell of vaping residue.
Allowing tenants to vape will triple your cleaning duties
Even though vaping residue isn’t as bad as cigarette residue, you’ll still need to work hard to remove the residue.
Cleaning a vacant rental unit is a fairly routine task. Damages aside, you can rent or hire a carpet cleaner, scrub the walls, and repaint if necessary. Cleaning up vaping residue will triple your cleaning workload. You can expect to encounter an oily substance on just about every surface including appliances and baseboards. For instance, you can’t just spray the top of the refrigerator with an all-purpose cleaner and wipe it with a paper towel. You’ll probably need a scraping tool and towels you can throw away when you’re done.
Hopefully, by now, you have enough information to ban tenants from vaping in your rental unit. If you’re not sure how to create and enact a policy to ban vaping, these tips can help:
Include a “no-vaping” policy in your lease
While you can’t police your tenants’ behavior all the time, you can make it clear that vaping is not allowed inside the rental unit. The best way to do this is to include a no-vaping policy in your lease and communicate the policy verbally to your tenant.
Remember that people are creatures of habit, and they might not remember reading everything in the lease. Addressing the issue specifically and verbally will ensure a tenant will remember the rules. You can’t force a tenant to comply with the lease terms, but if they break the terms of the lease, you have recourse.
Define “e-cigarette” and “vapor product” in your lease
People are clever. Don’t give sneaky tenants the ability to get around your policy by finding ways around your verbiage. Define both “vapor product” and an “e-cigarette in your lease.”
Cite the definitions directly from the Texas Health & Safety Code:
- E-cigarette: “an electronic cigarette or any other device that simulates smoking by using a mechanical heating element, battery, or electronic circuit to deliver nicotine or other substances to the individual inhaling from the device…”
- Vapor product: “Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or any other device that uses a mechanical heating element, battery, or electronic circuit to deliver vapor that may include nicotine to the individual inhaling from the device, or any substance used to fill or refill the device.”
Cite Texas law in your lease
Some tenants will try to get away with breaking a rule (like smoking) when they believe that rule is arbitrary or useless. Cite the law wherever relevant to support your policies. For instance, in your no smoking and no vaping policy, note the legal age for purchasing and possessing nicotine products. If your tenants are under 21, it’s illegal for them to vape. On September 1, 2019, Texas raised the legal age for buying or possessing nicotine products (including e-cigarettes) to 21 years of age with the exception of those over 18 with a military I.D.
Specify that vaping is a lease violation
Some tenants are only deterred from violating a lease agreement when there are definite consequences spelled out. Specify that vaping even once inside the rental unit is a lease violation, which legally justifies eviction. They might think twice about it.
Protect your rental property first and foremost
Protecting your rental property should be your priority over accommodating a tenant’s nicotine habit. If they want to vape or smoke, they can go outside.
Are you struggling with tenants who vape?
Have you already signed a lease with a tenant that doesn’t specify your policy on vaping? Do you suspect a tenant might be vaping in your rental unit? If they’re under 21 and non-military, it’s illegal at the state level. Therefore, you have every right to request that they stop. However, if they’re 21 or older and the lease doesn’t prohibit vaping, you might not be able to do anything until their lease is up for renewal.
If you’re confused about how to create and enforce a no-vaping policy, we can help. At Green Residential, we’ve spent decades helping landlords create solid lease agreements to protect their properties from all kinds of damage, including vaping, smoking, and dangerous activities.
Are your tenants ignoring the terms of the lease? Contact us for a free analysis and find out how we can help you bring your tenants in alignment with the lease agreement they’ve signed. Our property management company specializes in developing strong lease agreements that hold tenants to account. Contact us today and see how we can help.