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Vaping in Your Rental Property: Should You Allow It?


Jul 21, 2020 by Aly J. Yale

Vaping has become a popular habit in recent years -- particularly with young people. In fact, according to a recent Gallup Poll, nearly one in 10 adults vapes on a weekly basis. In the 18-to-29 age range, the share more than doubles.

If you're a landlord -- especially one with multiple properties to your name, there's a high chance you'll encounter a tenant who vapes, too. The question is, should you let them do it on your property? And if so, under what conditions?

There's no hard-and-fast answer here, but there are lots of factors to consider, particularly the long-term effects that vaping could have on your investment. Let's take a look at the top considerations you'll want to think about before making your decision:

What vaping does to your property

When compared to traditional cigarettes, vaping emits a lot less odor and gives off a vapor rather than smoke. As a result, you won't get those yellow nicotine stains, nor will there be a strong, lingering stench. Still, that doesn't mean they can't cause damage.

Over time, vaping can cause an oily buildup on the walls of a home, and that buildup easily attracts dirt, dust, and grime. As a result, a property that's been vaped in may need more cleaning than one that hasn't, particularly on the walls, floors, and counter surfaces.

The neighbors and larger community

Vaping can be a nuisance to the larger community. Neighbors with young kids might not appreciate the smell emanating from next door, or they might complain about the vapors they feel they're being exposed to. (Second-hand "smoke" is still a concern with vaping. According to a report from the Surgeon Generals' Office, "The emissions may include nicotine, carbonyl compounds, VOCs, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, TSNAs, heavy metals, and glycols." At least 10 chemicals emitted from the devices are on California's carcinogens list.)

The fire hazard it presents

Vaping-related fires are rare, but they do happen. Vapes and e-cigarettes use lithium-ion batteries that can spark and pose a fire hazard. They also need to be charged, which is usually done when tenants are at work or asleep -- meaning they're not able to address the fire quickly to prevent major damage.

Local laws

Finally, local laws and ordinances also have to come into consideration. In fact, there are nearly 1,000 local laws and 22 state laws that restrict e-cigarettes across the country. If you have a multifamily property located in one of these areas, vaping likely isn't allowed, so be sure to check with your municipality for any regulations or rules.

The bottom line

Vaping is a common practice in today's day and age, so the chances you'll encounter a tenant who does it are high. Make sure you specifically ask questions about vaping and e-cigarettes during your screening process, and always include a clause in your lease if you want to restrict or limit it on your property. Be sure to address vape-related damages and cleaning fees, too.

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