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How Landlords Can Detect and Address Smoking in the Rental Property

16 December 2022

As a landlord, knowing if your tenants are smoking inside the property is important. There may be some implications if your tenants breach the terms of their tenancy agreement. In this post, we will explore some common signs that tenants may be smoking inside the property and strategies for addressing this issue.

A landlord can add special conditions to the tenancy agreement related to things that may cause extra wear and tear and damage to the property—for example, placing restrictions on smoking inside the house. Tenants may face real consequences if they breach such a tenancy agreement term.

How landlords can detect smoking in the property

As a landlord, it is important to know the common signs that tenants may be smoking inside the property. Some of the telltale signs that smoking is occurring in the rental unit may include the following:

  • Strong tobacco odours
    If you notice a strong, persistent tobacco smell in the property, this could be a sign that tenants are smoking inside.

  • Yellowed walls or ceilings
    Smoking can cause yellowing or discolouration on walls and ceilings, particularly in areas where smoking is frequent.

  • Cigarette burns
    If you notice small burn marks on furniture or other surfaces, this could signify that cigarettes are being smoked inside the property.

  • Stained carpets or curtains
    Smoking can cause stains on carpets and curtains, particularly if cigarettes are not properly extinguished.

  • Complaints from neighbours
    If you receive complaints from neighbours about tobacco odours, this could be a sign that tenants or their friends are smoking inside.

Strategies for addressing smoking in the property

If you suspect that your tenants are smoking inside the property, there are several strategies you can consider for addressing the issue:

  1. Check your tenancy agreement
    When signing the agreement, you should have included a condition prohibiting smoking inside the property or limiting smoking to certain areas. This helps to provide a basis for enforcing any smoking restrictions.

  2. Pay attention during property inspections
    Periodically inspect the property for signs of smoking, such as tobacco odours or cigarette burns. If you find evidence of smoking, you can use this as an opportunity to discuss the issue with your tenants.

Need assistance with Property Inspections? myRent is here to help! Book a one-off professional inspection service (no strings attached!) or outsource all your property inspections.

  1. 14 day-notice to remedy
    When a breach happens, you can send the tenants a 14-day notice to remedy. The notice should describe what they have done to breach the agreement's terms, what they need to do to fix it, and how long they have to fix it.

If you're using myRent to manage your tenancy, the 14-day notice to remedy can be digitally created, signed and served through the site. Alternatively, you can use this template

If you send a 14-day notice to remedy and the tenants don't stop smoking inside, you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to sort the matter out. You can seek to end the tenancy as part of your Tribunal application.

Detecting smoking in a rental property can be a challenge for landlords. By being aware of the common signs of smoking, such as odours, stains and cigarette burns, landlords can take steps to ensure that their properties are smoke-free.

We recommend you always seek independent tax advice regarding financial matters. The information contained in this article is exclusively for promotional purposes. It does not in any way constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as the basis for any legal action or contractual dealings. The information is not, and does not attempt to be, a comprehensive account of the relevant law in New Zealand. If you require legal advice you should seek independent legal counsel. does not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.

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