How to Handle a Resident Smoking in Your Seattle Rental Property

Published: Aug 01, 2020

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While many lease agreements have a no-smoking policy, vaping can seem like a legal grey area. Today we are speaking with Enrique Jevons, Regional Director with Mynd for the Pacific Northwest, about why it is important to prevent vaping or smoking within a rental and how a property owner or manager can handle the situation should a tenant choose to do so.

Steve Rozenberg: Ladies and gentlemen, I am Steve Rozenberg with Mynd Property Management and I am joined here today with Enrique Jevons. Did I say that right, okay?

Enrique Jevons: Yeah, yeah. Jevons. It’s English. So yeah, a lot of people make the mistake they try and put a Spanish pronunciation on there.

Steve Rozenberg: A little fling on there, huh? Well, I've known each other—Enrique and I have been friends for many years. And now I have the opportunity to work with him. He is the Regional Director for the Pacific Northwest area for Mynd. And what we're going to be doing is we're going to talk about some expert information from Enrique, who is an expert in this area without a doubt.So Enrique, one of the questions I have is if I have a resident and they are maybe doing  smoking or vaping, how do you handle that in a rental property in the Seattle area? What's the best way if I'm an investor to handle this situation?

Enrique Jevons: Yeah, so it's definitely something you do want to address. It's one of those things where just human nature is not to be confrontational. And so landlords, oftentimes, become sheepish about enforcing their lease but this is one of those areas where you definitely want to enforce the lease. You want to make sure that you have a No-Smoking policy in your lease.No smoking in the state of Washington, at least, means just no smoking. I'm sure I'm sure it probably means the same thing everywhere. No smoking, whatever it is, whether it's cloves, cigarettes, vaping,  doesn't matter what you're smoking. The problem is that gets into the paint, it gets into the carpet and it's extremely hard to get those smells out. And certainly people become numb to it. They think, “oh, can't smell it.” But somebody who's not a vapor, who's not a smoker—whether it's cloves, cigarettes, —comes in, they're going to smell it right away. So you absolutely want to make sure that you have it in your lease to prohibit smoking and that you enforce the lease. Do not allow anybody to smoke anything in your property.

Steve Rozenberg: Is vaping—is that actually considered smoking in the legal terminology?

Enrique Jevons: Yeah, so we do. And we've now just because it is one of those things. Okay, so fine, I consider it smoking, but just to reduce the ambiguity, we've added now vaping as smoking.So yes, I would highly recommend—you may not have had been in there previously because it is a newer thing add it so that it doesn't become an issue. But even if you don’t have it in there I would still say—tell the person that that's considered smoking and so that is included.

Steve Rozenberg: Now let me ask you this. Let's say you go full tilt and this becomes a grow house. Now I know this is a different conversation which and this may not be the right subject, but I'm just curious, does this become a hazmat situation when you're dealing with (). Is it a certain amount of quantity that makes it a hazardous material or how does that work?

Enrique Jevons: No. Fortunately,  is not considered hazardous material as meth is. Meth is a much more serious situation. It does become hazmat. It is something that then essentially it’s going to be because of the expense involved. Typically, that’s something that insurance companies get involved in and you have to have hazmat clean.Honestly, I’ve never had a meth house in the 20-something years that I’ve had rental properties. So I’ve been very fortunate in that respect. But with  grow, same thing. We have it in ours that you can’t grow anything indoors so we can just leave it at that. So when the person says, “oh but now  is legal.” And even before it was recreationally legal they’d say, “oh it’s medicinal and I’m allow to grow up to 14 plants,” or whatever it is.We just have it in our least simply that, and my recommendation to everybody is, just put you may not grow anything. It is prohibited to grow any plants inside the home. And again, so that you're not fighting over whether or not that particular plant is legal or not. It’s just, ban all plants.It's not such a big thing anymore but candles used to be a big thing for a while and we had to write into the least that you're not allowed to burn candles. As seemingly innocuous as that might be, it was problematic because you had all these soot either running up the side of the wall in the paint or it was just hitting the ceiling. You don't really notice it at first until it's a real big problem. And then you've got to paint your ceiling because of all the soot marks left from the candles.

Steve Rozenberg: Well, another conversation, but I actually had one of my rental property burn down because of a candle falling over. Well that's a whole other conversation. Another video. But yeah, so just to kind of sum it up here, if somebody is wondering about  or vaping, from what I gathered from you, it's best just to put it in the lease agreement—no smoking of any kind, no growing or having any plans of any kind. And, that way, you are kind of making it all-encompassing so that they cannot have these what-ifs or one-offs. Is that safe to say?

Enrique Jevons: Yeah, exactly. So that there's no wiggle room so that they can't just start trying to argue on any technicalities.

Steve Rozenberg: All right, well great. Enrique, if somebody wants to get ahold of you up in the Pacific Northwest and they want to know more about Mynd and talking to you about either acquisition or managing your properties, how do they get ahold of you?

Enrique Jevons: So the easiest way is going to be by email. So, So e-n-r-i-q-u-e.j-e-v-o-n-s at m-y-n-d.c-o. Fortunately, my name is one where nobody else has it. It's unique enough that if you do a Google search and you just type in Enrique Jevons, you're going to find me. Whether it's LinkedIn, Facebook, Mynd, wherever it might be, as far as I know, I'm still the only Enrique Jevons out there.

Steve Rozenberg: Alright. If anyone out there wants to join our Facebook group, the Mastermynd Real Estate Investment Club on Facebook. It's a closed group, we'd love to have you. As well as, go to our website M-Y-N-D.C-O. And there you can get a lot of information along with our podcast show and other things. So, Enrique, thank you so much. This is Enrique and Steve and I want to thank everyone for watching and we'll talk to you guys later. Bye-bye.

Enrique Jevons: All right, thanks. Bye.While vaping may seem less harmful to a property than smoking, smells and soot can persist within a rental, even if the tenant cannot observe it. Cleaning such residue can often be costly to the property owner. As such, it is recommended that any lease agreement include a blanket ban on smoking of any kind. Doing so will provide a wide legal blanket to the owner or manager and prevent any confusion over the legality of the substance being smoked or vaped within the residence.

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