Wednesday 13th March is National No Smoking Day. We're not here to tell people whether they should smoke or not, but we have put together a few points on the impact that smoking can have on a rented property (and indeed any property) and some things that landlords and tenants should take into consideration in relation to smoking.

There is no shortage of effects that smoking can have on a property. Smell is one of the legacies of a smoker in the room - even a one-off cigarette is notable in the air for a little while, and the odour of prolonged, frequent smoking can hang around long after the smoker has vacated the property. Even when a room is aired, that smoking smell can still cling to fabrics on curtains and sofas.

Discolouration can be another unwelcome result of smoking - when nicotine can give what was a fresh white wall a somewhat dull yellow hue. Fabrics can be affected again here too - in particular items like curtains or vertical blinds that are white or of a very pale colour.

Smoking can also increase the risk of damage in a property. Carpets and sofas can be the victim of accidental burn marks, and there can of course be more severe consequences when a cigarette is not properly extinguished and disposed of.

So what should landlords and tenants be thinking about when it comes to smoking?

First and foremost for the landlord is whether or not they actually want to permit smoking in their property. If smoking is not permitted then this should be clearly stated as a clause in the tenancy agreement. In the event of a claim for part of the tenancy deposit being made due to smoking related issues, it is not difficult to show evidence of damage or discolouration provided a detailed inventory, check-in and check-out reports and photos are provided, but what of smell? If they are satisfied that this is the case on check-in, then the landlord should note on the inventory that the property is fresh and free of odours at the start of the tenancy - without such a statement it would be difficult to argue that any habits or activities of the tenant have resulted in odours that were not previously present.

For the tenant's part they should read the tenancy agreement and inventory thoroughly at the start of the tenancy, so that they are fully aware of the landlord's expectations. The tenant can take steps to minimise the effect of their smoking on the property and in turn reduce the likelihood of a claim being made against their deposit. Use ashtrays when smoking inside the property and dispose of their contents safely. When it's feasible to do so, open a window or windows when you are having a cigarette to allow some of the smoke to escape. And use a good quality air freshener in short bursts after each smoke - waiting until the end of a tenancy and trying to mask a lingering smoke smell with an excessive amount of air freshener can be ineffective.