So What do I do If my Tenant . . . . .Smells?

 

So, smelly is not good, certainly not the quality I would be going for when looking for someone to live in a house that I own. To compound that, what do you do when the tenant not only just smells, but the smell is permeating the rest of the property?

 

I received a call today from an owner who owns a beautiful home with a spacious basement level apartment. The tenants in the basement are over crowding the unit (3 people on the lease but about 6 people probably live there) but the owner isn’t all that concerned about the extra occupants, she is concerned solely about the smell.

 

This particular owner travels quite often for work and pleasure, but when in the states she lives in the upper part of the home. She happened to be home this week and noticed that the smell of the basement tenants has not only invaded her living space but has gotten to the point where the sheets on her bed on the third level of the home smell like their food.

 

The owner requested that I find a way to tell the tenants that the smell of curry is too pungent and they must open the windows when they cook or find a way to ventilate the kitchen better.

 

Awkward. How you do you tell someone that the smell of their food is making another person sick? More importantly, how you do you enforce this sort of a request.

 

My answer? You tell them as gently as possible. For me, I wrote a letter to the tenants and noted that during the winter months we were sending out reminders to all multi-unit residents to remind them to respect their neighbors by opening windows when cooking, using above the stove fans and making sure to use floor coverings on hard floor surfaces to dampen noise. Nothing specific to their unit or cooking style, just a friendly reminder of these items, and a little prayer that they get the point and follow them.

 

The downside, something like this is not necessarily enforceable. You can’t evict someone based on odor being offensive. The smell just may be something that you have to live with.