When your roommates are smoking in the apartment, you have to deal with secondhand smoke, foul odors and potential damages to your apartment. Come moving out time, you may have to pay for damages to fix wall or furnishing discoloration and accidental burns as well as a thorough cleaning to get rid of the smoke smell. That’s why it’s important that you deal with the issue as soon as possible.
Preparing for Your Talk
Before your roommates began smoking in the apartment, preferably as soon as they (or you) moved in, you should have been upfront about your preference and/or the apartment complex rules prohibiting smoking. If you weren’t clear then, or your roommates have decided to flaunt the prohibition regardless, it’s time to have a talk.
Prepare yourself for the talk by combing through your lease to see if there’s a smoking ban. This will help your argument, although it’s still acceptable for you to address the smoking in the apartment even if it’s just your personal preference to not have to live with someone who smokes. You may also want to look up some estimates for how much it costs to clean an apartment to get rid of the smoke smell, smoke burns or discoloration.
Open a Dialog and Don’t Lecture
Remember not to go into the talk accusatory, even if you made the rules clear early on and your roommates are ignoring them. You should especially be patient and open-minded if you were never clear about the rules. Tell your roommates that you have something important to discuss and you would appreciate that they have a dialog with you. Outline your thoughts on smoking and bring up any apartment-wide prohibition and the potential cost of damages. Offer to have them smoke outside (if allowed) and apologize for any confusion (if you hadn’t been clear to start with).
If your roommates are unwilling to cooperate, you might think about calling up the landlord and explaining your roommates’ reluctance to comply to complex rules (if there is a smoking ban). However, that will likely lead to further bad blood between you. If your roommates are unwilling to be fair about smoking in the apartment, you’re probably better off living with someone else. Either ask them to leave within a month or look for another place to live, depending on whose name is on the lease. At that point, you can make your landlord aware that it’s your roommates—and not you—who smoke and should be held responsible for the damages.
Getting Your Roommates to Take Responsibility
If your roommates are cooperative, you should ask them if they could pay for cleaning up the apartment. If you weren’t clear about the smoking ban from the start and you’ve let them smoke for a while before you confront them, it may be more fair of you to offer to chip in at least a small percent, especially if your roommates are being agreeable and will stop the smoking. However, if they’ve flaunted the rules, they should pay on their own. Enlist the help of your landlord if necessary.
You shouldn’t have to live with roommates smoking in the apartment if you don’t want to. You may have to pay for it in more ways than one, and living in the environment can be uncomfortable. You should ask your roommates to take responsibility—or look for another place to live.