Property: The seller smokes? I’ll have a discount, please

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As strict non-smoking zones spread across the country, Britain’s property market has become the latest battleground in the war on smoking, according to new research.

The study found that just under a quarter (24 per cent) of buyers would expect a discount on the property price if there was evidence of a smoker having previously lived there.

A further 40 per cent of people said they would think twice about renting a property if the previous tenant had been a smoker.

Five years after the smoking ban came into force, an overwhelming 81 per cent of Brits say that they are fully in support of it.

More than two thirds (67 per cent) of smokers admit that they want to improve their health and well-being by giving up – which may be good news considering that eight per cent of respondents said they would not live in a property that had been previously occupied by a smoker.

But the news is even worse for smokers who are looking to rent. With demand higher than ever for rental accommodation, 60 per cent of the landlords surveyed said they would not consider letting out a property to tenants that smoke, with half saying they would increase the rent for smoking tenants.

A third of landlords confirmed they had even held back deposit money to cover the cost of cleaning or repairing homes that have been smoke damaged in the past.

Of those tenants who do smoke, 22 per cent admitted to having smoked inside homes that they knew were non-smoking and 39 per cent of smokers said they would not tell a potential landlord if they were a smoker.

Jennifer Warner from Globrix.com, which commissioned the research, said: “Since the introduction of the ban, smokers have found themselves becoming increasingly marginalised in society and now tenants and landlords are following in the footsteps of businesses by taking the hard line when it comes to smoking indoors.

“It is no surprise that in today’s ultra-competitive rental market, landlords are coming down hard on smokers, penalising them with higher rental charges and in many cases refusing to let properties to smokers at all.

“The fact that 60 per cent of landlords wouldn’t let out a property to smoking tenants highlights the growing anti-smoking culture in the UK”.

As well as facing up to the prospect of seeing a fraction shaved off the value of their property, smokers have had to deal with a two per cent above inflation rise in duty on cigarettes, introduced in the Budget in March.