News and Views

Smoking is banned in Tasmania from all public indoor areas. You can even be fined for smoking in your car when a minor is also present. But, what about smoking in rental properties?

Is there a general ban on smoking in your home if you are renting?

Reviewing the Residential Tenancy Act 1997, which lays out the law for rental properties in Tasmania, the short answer seems to be that it is not prohibited to smoke in rentals. But there are a few more facts that you should take into consideration.

Terms that are not provided for in the Act can be written into the lease agreement, so check your lease to see whether it contains a rule about smoking.

Many landlords use standard lease agreements as provided by the Real Estate Institute of Tasmania (REIT). The REIT lease (as of March 2011) states:

“Looking after the premises means […] that a tenant must not without the consent of the owner in writing [… ] (m) Smoke or allow to be smoked any cigarette, cigar or other device inside the premises.”

So, if your landlord gives their written permission, you can smoke.

However, even if your lease agreement does not prohibit smoking, there are grounds for being cautious. The general rule for rentals is that at the end of a tenancy a property has to be returned in the same condition as it was at the beginning, apart from reasonable wear and tear. Smoking may cause damage to the property that is more than reasonable wear and tear. That means you may have to pay for professional cleaning or painting when you move out.

The other cautionary note is the smoke alarm legislation, which became effective in May 2013, and states that every home has to be fitted with functioning smoke alarms. It is against the law to disable smoke alarms by, for example, removing the battery. There are two types of smoke alarms that comply with the standards outlined in the legislation – ionisation and photoelectric smoke alarms. The recommendation of fire service and smoke alarm providers is for the installation of the photoelectric type, which ‘see’ smoke. That means they detect visible particles of combustion and that includes smouldering cigarette smoke. In short, they will go off when you smoke and you are not allowed disable them to do so.

To sum up, there is no general ban on smoking in rental properties in Tasmania, but there are a number of reasons you might want to stay away from it, not least to your health!