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Learn How to Remove Bad Smells Tenants Left Behind

One of the most important things to do after renters move out is to get rid of bad smells left by them as it can affect your cash flow in the future. No one wants to occupy a place with bad smell. You can lose income over time if you fail to resolve the issue of bad smell before showing it to a perspective tenant. Following are some tips to finish bad smells in your property.

The bad odors left by renters

Some of the odors that are caused by renters cause are due to normal living at the property. You as a property owner should eliminate odors of cooking and drainage areas before renting out the unit to a new tenant. For pet friendly units, you will also have to get rid of the pet smells. There are some odors which are a result of violation of lease rules like smoke of cigarette, marijuana, and other stinky drugs. For lease violation cases, you may deduct some amount from the security deposit which you spent on eliminating the odors.

Nevertheless, it is a agreed upon fact that you have to solve the problem of bad smell whether it’s caused by normal living or any different reason. You can follow the below mentioned steps to get rid of any irritating smells in your rental unit.

Begin with sanitization of the property along with the carpet

If you deep clean your rental property, you can get rid of the foulest odors. First of all, sanitize all hard surfaces so that you kill all bacteria causing the smell. Next, you can wash carpets, or rugs as they can be a cause of a persistent smell.

Eliminating cooking smells in a tiny unit

Cooking odors can persist in an apartment even after vacation. For example spices and other ingredients used in food with strong smell can last longer and even spread across the apartment.

To get rid of intense odors, you will need to scrub the surface to wipe them off of the surface. Once, you are done with the scrubbing, you may need to use chemical with deodorizing effect to defuse smells in upholstery. In some cases, you may save on replacing the items rather than cleaning them.

Getting Rid of Musty Smells

Musty smell may be trickier than you think. It may be because of the poor ventilation due to keeping windows closed for longer period of time or it may be because of mold.

Letting the unit get proper ventilation by opening the window is what one should start with. One can increase the airflow by using an electric fan, ventilation fan or a dehumidifier. However, if the smell remains even after sufficient ventilation, you may need to check the unit for mold.

It is important to dry the surfaces. However, if the problem remains, you may need to replace the surfaces. If you notice anything major that you can't solve yourself, call a professional to resolve the issue.

Remember, breathing in mold spores is a health hazard. As per Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you should fix water problems to save your tenant from health hazards and stop this from happening again.

Getting Rid of Cigarettes Smell in Apartment

Getting rid of nicotine and cigarettes smell can be a testing task. Cigarette smell can spread across in an apartment and it will be hard to convince a nonsmoker to live an apartment with cigarette smell.

Note that it is not just the smell, cigarettes contain nicotine which can cause serious health problems associated with passive smoking. It poses a serious threat for children, senior citizens, and people who are allergic to cigarette or having preexisting health conditions.

Apart from Nicotine and Tar, cigarette smoke contains carcinogenic substance that remain on furniture, walls, drapes, and carpets long after time. If not removed, these substances can later mix in the air and inhaled by the tenant, absorbed via skin. This is a serious health hazard to your new tenants.

While in some cases dry cleaning may be enough to get rid of the smoke odor, in worst cases you may need to replace certain items like carpets, drapes, and furniture in the unit. you may also need to re-paint the unit to stop cigarette odor from affecting the air quality.

Pet Odors

If your previous tenant had a pet, expect pet odors in your apartment unit. While you can't change that fact, you will need to get rid of the odor before you rent your unit out to a new tenant.

Carpets they are more likely to hold pet odors. You can begin with sprinkling some baking soda on the carpet, wait for a few minutes and then vacuum it. If it did not resolve your issue and you still noticed the bad odor. Now, you need to find out pet stains of pet urine. Once you find that, you can decide if you need cleaning or replacing the carpet.

Preventing/Prevention of Bad Smell in your Units

The best way to your cash flows intact and minimize your vacancy time is to prevent bad odor from spreading across the unit. Once can invest a little in preventive measures, which can help save time, and cost of deep cleaning after a tenant vacate the unit.

For instance, it is expensive to replace carpets, drapes, furniture, and upholstery. But you ignore the preventive measures, you will likely bear all cost once a tenant vacate. Also, repainting walls to get rid of bad odors and hiring cleaning companies can swallow your profits.

You can avoid some issues by screening your prospective tenant. But even then you may face such issues. Here are a few tips to prevent unpleasant smells in your unit.

Conduct Inspections

You should include this in your lease, that you will inspect your property regularly. These inspections may help you resolve issues before they spiral out of control. For instance, during an inspection, you will easily notice bad smells like garbage, pets, mold, smoking, or drug use.

It also encourages tenants to cleanup when you regularly inspect the property. Additionally, you can also notice minor maintenance issues like dripping plumbing, bad air filters, poor ventilation which helps prevent issues and also save you in heavy repair costs later.

Prevention of Bad Smell through Policies

It is important to include pet policy in your lease to give your tenant an idea of what you are expecting from them when it comes to bringing in pets to your property. If you are letting your tenant to keep pets on your property, make sure you provide them clear guidelines in the lease. Furthermore, you will need to mention about smoking, and use of other drugs on the property.

Prevention of Bad Smell by Changing the Flooring

It is pertinent to consider replacing carpet with vinyl laminate floors of good quality. As carpet is inclined to get bad smell and hold it for longer periods of time. This can prevent bad smell staying in your rental unit. Vinyl is easy to clean and maintain as compared to carpet.


Removing bad odor from your rental unit is normally part of clean-up after tenant vacate. However, you may deal with pungent smells sometimes too. Using the right equipment, along with quality chemical can help you completely get rid of the stubborn bad odor to get your apartment ready for your new tenant to get comfortable from the get go.

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Justin Brennan

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