What liability is a landlord agreeing to by signing a lease that permits smoking?
Usually landlords do not allow smoking indoors these days. But if you are a tenant who smokes, and find a landlord who does, they probably have language in the lease that covers potential issues, like fire and smoke damage to walls, carpets, draperies etc. If language covering these issues is not in the lease agreement, then the landlord will not be able to charge the tenant for damage due to smoke residue when they move out. A simple addendum to the lease that specifies No Smoking inside the premises will suffice to cover the landlord against damage if there is evidence that the tenant did not follow this rule. So it is very important for the landlord to have a good lease if they plan to allow smoking. If the smoker causes a fire, it is still the responsibility of the smoker and that person, even if they do not have renter’s insurance, can be sued for damages.
I recommend that every tenant be required to have renter’s insurance to cover any damages caused by that tenant during the tenancy. It can also cover damage to or theft of the tenant’s belongings. Renter’s insurance is not expensive and can be obtained with the landlord named as a beneficiary. Most tenant insurance will cover certain types of damage caused by the tenant, like fire or water damage. The security deposit will cover most small items like clogging the plumbing, holes in a wall or door etc. Our software at Smart Property Systems and Ideal Landlord will allow you to require the tenant to have insurance and also provide a portal for getting that insurance in the US.