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How do you prove a tenant is smoking??? - Landlord Forum thread 115938

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How do you prove a tenant is smoking??? by Jennifer on November 27, 2005 @14:55

How can we effectively prove a tenant has been smoking in the house? I want to evict my tenant for breaking the "no smoking in the house" rule. I am allergic to it and my daughter has asthma but I hear it is hard to prove if challenged in court. Do I have to give them the chance to stop smoking in the house or can I just outright evict them? I modified the lease to say the smkoing in the house is grounds for immediate eviction and fofeiture of the security deposit. Is there something I can buy to test the walls, carpeting, etc for nicotine? No one ever smoked in there and we had the carpets cleaned twice before they moved in and repainted the entire house.


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Re: How do you prove a tenant is smoking??? by George on November 27, 2005 @15:49 [ Reply ]
Is it a month to month?

Are they in violation of anything else?

Re: How do you prove a tenant is smoking??? by Cory (Alberta) on November 7, 2012 @16:59 [ Reply ]
I am unsure of your local laws, but here where i live it is illegal to modify the lease if the tenant has already moved in. It can also be EXTREMELY difficult to prove a tenant is smoking. you must always remember YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO PROVE IT IN COURT to my knowledge the only real discernible way to prove a tenant is smoking is with a cigarette smoke detector. its also illegal here to "immediately evict an individual" We all have rights, from tenants to landlords! you really should consult your regions tenancy act before going ANY further!!!
Re: How do you prove a tenant is smoking??? by Anonymous on March 25, 2013 @21:57 [ Reply ]
I had a tenant in a basement suite in my house who was a heavy smoker. It is very difficult to prove unless you catch him or her lighting a cigarette and puffing in the house or if they light up in a common area (porch, laundry room,ect). Some signs to look for is: Smell- you know what your house smells like with day to day odors such as cleaning, cooking, bathroom, ect.
Cigarette smoke resembles a very strong smell as i something was smouldering, only instead of burned food or paper/wood, which has a clean smell, cigarette smoke has a very strong smell as if you're burning very green grass/leaves. Essentially stand outside a restaraunt or mall and smell what the smoke from a cigarette smells like. The tobacco in cigarettes and pipes an cigars will stain the walls and ceiling a yellow color. The carpets, curtains and any furniture or fabric type material will als smell of cigarette smoke. Look for cigarette butts lying aroun ld the apartment as well as ashtrays with used butts in them. Some people say they open up used cigarettes to put the tobacco into a pipe and smoke that, so the cigarette gets fully used. If you provide a bit can outside and it hasn't shown any sign if use, be on the alert. Cigarette smoke also has its way of goin through furnace ducts to other floors, especially when the furnace kicks in. If you suspect smoking, go and tell your tenant you are calling the fire department as you suspect a fire due to smoke smell as you think there's a fire. They usually will panic and say there's no fire, they just had a few cigarette puffs/ a smoke. That's when your firmly warm them not to smoke an that any more instinces will result in eviction plus damage charges since nicotine does damage the inside of a house. Pot smells like a burning hockey puck. Generally it's illegal unless they have a document stating they are allowed to do it for medical reasons. They must, however, smoke it outside, as no smoking inside means cigarettes, marijuana, pipes, cigars, ect.
Re: How do you prove a tenant is smoking??? by Joel Corley (Oregon) on January 30, 2017 @13:49 [ Reply ]
First, there should be some facts to indicate that the tenant has been smoking (e.g. it smells like smoke).

Second, as others have posted, leases can be amended when all individuals sign a new lease, not unilaterally.

Third, EMSL Laboratories ( sells a test kit for testing for nicotine residue. The processing fees are $95 per test. Horizontal surfaces are better than vertical surfaces. Also cleaning products can contaminate the test, so if it looks like the tenant has tried to destroy the evidence, chose out of the way places.

These tests work for walls and hard surfaces, not fabrics, carpets, etc. I asked EMSL about that and testing fabrics would be cost prohibitive.
Re: How do you prove a tenant is smoking??? by Anonymous on September 17, 2017 @19:36 [ Reply ]
I am an R.N. and for years conducted tobacco cessation classes at the hospital. I also smoked when I was young.

As a landlord in our state you can give a 48 hour notice for a "routine maintenance inspection" and enter the tenant's apartment for just that purpose. If they have been smoking it you will know. Nicotine remains in curtains, carpet and on the walls. The nicotine residue is very apparent and distinct. If you need to bring an "assistant" to verify your results.

I'm currently trying to get a landlord to deal with what appears to be a woman smoking meth or coke in the apartment beneath mine. The typical smells (this happened on my friend's property before and I know the odors associated with the use of meth and/or coke) are distinct...but true meth or coke users become very astute at hiding the smell (often covering it with excessive amounts of room deoderizer, etc.) The fumes from this woman's apartment have seeped into mine and are apparent in every room of the house (especially coming from the sink drain in the bathroom and from a utility closet between my kitchen and living room. I tried to seal every seem between trim and wall in the utility closet and still the odors continue to rise every day. The woman doesn't seem to sleep. I've filed an extensive police report (with 8-10 weeks of documentation) and yet landlord doesn't want to address it. He "goes to sleep at 9:00 p.m." and "doesn't want to be bothered on weekends" and although he encouraged me to call him, he did not respond to 3 calls I made in one day (and I have been very patient, polite, etc.) The police must witness the odors to render a test (strip test) which can calculate if meth has been smoked in an area (as it creates a residue that can't be washed off with bleach, detergent, etc.) The Health Department also indicated the right of the landlord to come in for "routine check", etc.

Anyway, you can check out the situation yourself (you have a right as a landlord.) And you should check it before it ruins your apartment.

By the way, my apartment was shampooed and repainted just before I moved in a year ago. When I have checked the door to the utility closet (wood) I can smell tobacco residue (which indicates someone smoked there before they established the "no smoking in the apartment" rule.

Best of luck in securing your confirmation. Again, get a friend or and/or assistant and check it out yourself. If your tenants are big "partyers," there's a good chance they are smoking as well. Protect your investment!
Re: How do you prove a tenant is smoking??? by dee dee taylor (TN) on April 2, 2018 @00:33 [ Reply ]
I live in - HUD housing .

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