Smoking in a flat

I RECENTLY took on a tenant in a ground floor flat who is a smoker. The contract says no smoking in the property and any smoking was clearly agreed to be outside at the back of the building. the upstairs tenants have complained about the strong smell of smoke in the shared hallway and they are really clean people.
i have spoken to him and said it is not acceptable and he may not under any circumstances smoke in the flat. He said he hasn’t and he won’t but i was disappointed that he was probably lying to me about the smoking as the report was backed up by a third party.
i have said about how extensive cleaning is required after the tenancy which will impact the deposit. however he has 4 months to run on the AST. i suggested the upstairs tenants speak to him directly if it happens again and i would if necessary write to him.
now in this case i took a benefits case as i couldn’t get anyone working during covid 19. I am inviting opinions on this or maybe angles i haven’t thought of to approach it. my instinct tells me it will end in giving notice as he has just denied it in the first instance and just paying me lip service. However i don’t think i have any leverage here and if he ignores me he will just stink the flat out and lose me upstairs tenants . a conundrum

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Sidney1 - I sympathise with you, I really do. I don’t have any advice, unfortunately, because these days the law lies firmly with the tenant on every front. I hope someone can give you some advice though - perhaps someone from OpenRent would be able to?

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My son smokes. He went through the hotel bedroom window we were staying at when the smoking ban first came in and smoked on the lawn outside, about 1-3 metres away from the window. When we came to leave the hotel, the hotel fined us because of the smoke smell in the room!

Why this story: maybe he did smoke outside, but the smoke can come in!

Leave it for the tenants to speak to each other, then if necessary suggest he smoke well away from the building.

Good luck.

Another example of ‘half-truth’:
Just visited a flat. My wife smelt smoke in the air, but the agent thought no-one smoked in the apartment. On visiting the balcony we found a cigarette stubbing location right next to the sliding doors: clearly the occupants did not want smoking indoors, but allowed it outdoors - far too close to the entrance! Another possible explanation for ‘I don’t smoke inside!’

We won’t be taking that flat event though the rent is less than what we pay, as my wife says: it cannot be totally removed by a deep clean.

I bought a flat for renovation the guy was a heavy smoker after all the windows open and painted up you could not smell anything .

Just wondering if the other tenants have ever seen him smoking at the back of the building as per your advice? As restrictions are now being lifted perhaps you could arrange an inspection.

Hopefully you resolve this matter but the fact that u said NO SMOKING he should respect this.

You won’t be able to stop him, and he is unlikely to move out even if you issue him notice. He probably doesn’t have a good credit rating to protect, as a benefits recipient he would find it hard to find anywhere else and if you kick him out he may get rehoused, so there is no reason for him to comply with a s21.

The only hope you have is to appeal to his better nature - it may even be better that he smokes “in” the flat rather than outside as that may not annoy your neighbours so much and you can sort it out with a deep clean and redecorate after he leaves.

To be honest though, if he’s a heavy smoker then him going in and out of the flat would leave a smell in the corridor. Perhaps you could install some sort of air freshener in the hallway?

I too have a heavy smoker. When he leaves he should redecorate but…
From previous experience just repainting doesnt do it. Neither do “special” paints.
For greating rid of the deep nicotine spray raw bleach on all the walls, maybe more than once, then wash down a couple of times , then start painting with undercoat etc.
BTW oily strains can bee prevented from coming thru with a spray can of white solvent based paint.
Good luck with the redecorating. A 5 week deposit will only be adequate if you do it yourslef