If you’ve been a landlord for a while, then you know that the trouble-free tenant is a myth. I would love to say otherwise, but once you’ve put your property on the market you will be dealing with all sorts of people from the Brady Bunch to the Hoarders from Hell. I’m a big fan of Todd Howard’s and believe me when I say this, I understand how you feel! I don’t envy your situation my friend.
As much as you would like to live and let live, it’s easier said than done, because there’s bound to be a rent agreement violation of some extent. One of these instances is when you have to write a warning letter to a tenant for smoking, in a smoke-free property.
While you are well within your rights as landlord to issue a warning if you find your tenant smoking, when the agreement says no smoking, I would advise using a sympathetic tone, and perhaps knowing your tenant better would soften the delivery of bad news of impending eviction in case of noncompliance despite the warnings. Here’s a sample letter:
Golden Grove Apartments
809 Wilson Street
Palm Desert, CA 92260
February 24, 2017
Mr. Joseph Allen
Apt 207, 2nd Floor
Atwater Avenue West
Palm Desert, CA 84112
Dear Mr. Allen:
I am writing this letter as a reminder of the smoke-free building policy, as per our rent agreement clause 12C. As you know, smoking is a direct violation of the Golden Grove Apartments’ building policy, and this letter is to be considered a first warning, and call to compliance.
I have known you for almost a decade now, and never saw you smoke, which is why I was surprised when my building manager told me the neighbors were complaining about the smell of cigarette smoke and alarm of smoke detector was heard from your apartment, which was their polite way of saying they thought they smelled marijuana. Knowing you, and giving you the benefit of doubt, I did some digging, and learned that your uncle Harmon has been staying with you for a while now, and that he’s here for medical treatment, and has a prescription for medical marijuana.
First off, I’m sorry to hear of your uncle’s illness, and this must be a difficult time for you both. I know how close you are with your family. And personally, I really have no issue with my tenants’ lifestyles, and I know it’s not easy for you to ask your uncle to not smoke in the building, with his condition and all. However, I have to adhere to the building policies if I am to run a successful apartment complex. I have ties in the realtor community and would be happy to connect you with someone whose building policy allows medical marijuana for those with a bona fide prescription. However, I hope you understand my position here, Mr. Allen. I’m afraid I cannot have smoking inside the building.
Let’s talk about this, you can call me on my cell phone at (000) 555-0123, let me help you find another place in the next 4 weeks, or perhaps you could consider placing your uncle in a long-term care facility, which is a block away. I hear they have chess and backgammon there and a nice spa for convalescents, maybe your uncle won’t be too upset. I’m here, and happy to help, I’ll call you in a couple of days to follow up.
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