tenent smoking in unit - Posted by carmen

Posted by Carmen on May 28, 2006 at 22:28:38:

Hello Ski
I found the website have you used this personally and is it like new?

tenent smoking in unit - Posted by carmen

Posted by carmen on May 28, 2006 at 24:13:16:

How to I get bad tobacco oders out of unit. Really strong. I just painted a year ago. Do I have to replace carpet and repaint? And if I have to go to court to recoup damages how do I prove smoke damage?
I am assuming he will wash the walls to hide any visable damage. I went in there today because he was out of town on emergeny he asked me enter the unit and mail something to him.

Re: tenent smoking in unit - Posted by Frank Chin

Posted by Frank Chin on May 30, 2006 at 08:42:23:


I had problems with tenant odors from “smoking”, pets, and “food odors”, particularly “curry” from tenants originating from South Asia. It smells awful for the “Western” nose, and some people get sick from it. My wife does.

I find painting the unit, and giving the carpets professional cleaning eliminates almost 90% to 95% of the odors. In the multi family units, there’s still a whiff of it in the common areas if you got a sensitive nose for it. Since I paint and clean anyway between tenancies, it’s not an issue for me.

I find tobacco odors easier to get rid of compared to “curry” food odor. Curry food odor lingers longer, and it takes a few weeks after the tenant leaving before it goes away completely. In the meantime, I find the smell bothers some propects, with some turning around to leave even before coming in.

What I do is after the painters are gone, after carpets are professionally cleaned, and while showing the units, I use “oil based high gloss enamel white paint” taking my time painting the baseboards, and allowing the strong odor of the enamel paint to “mask” any bad odors. Applying “polyutherine” to doorways, closet doors, kitchen cabinets does just as well. I simply tell people showing up that bright baseboards is a “terrific accent” for the unit, or how good the doors and cabinets look, and most people are really impressed that I’m putting such an effort into it.

People instinctively understand that while the paint smells awful, its only temporary given the renovation of the unit. They are less forgiving on food odors, I’m afraid.

Oil based paints gives off a stonger odor, and lingers longer, compared to its water based counterparts, I find.

But honestly after a few weeks, the bad odors are gone along with the smell of the enamel paint, and by then, the new tenants would have moved in, with a signed lease. If they complain, let them explain to a judge that they can’t smell smoking or food odors when they looked at my unit, but only weeks after, that is, they discover bad odors. How did that happen?? So far, I got no problems as new tenants think the odors came from next store, or upstairs somewhere, if they smell anything.

Oh, I tend to rent to older tenants, and many are from foreign countries. Many of these people are smokers, and I don’t want to eliminate a big pool of good tenants because of the smoking issue. I believe I got things well under control.

Frank Chin

Re: tenent smoking in unit - Posted by carmen

Posted by carmen on May 29, 2006 at 22:59:26:

Thanks everyone for the tips. I do have it in the lease tenent must be a non smoker didnt find out till after the fact. I will check these ideas out.

Cures for Smoke odor…Re: tenent smoking in unit - Posted by dd

Posted by dd on May 29, 2006 at 18:45:47:

To eradicate over 5 year’s worth of a heavy smoker’s residue, here is our solution that worked well on a former elderly occupants’ old smoke and cigar stench:
#1 All objects made of fabric and rubber must be completely removed since they have the tar residue permanently embedded in them(also, ‘old smoke’ residue leaves a certain amount of radon in a dwelling so better to eliminate the hidden dangers while you’re at it.) That means carpet, underpad and fabric window coverings. A word to the wise after selling the world famous Kirby vacuum cleaners door to door in my high school days: carpet and fabric upholstery are the filthiest things we humans live with. It is far more economical and easier to clean and replace carpet free surfaces. Consider synthetic squares of parquet linoleum in your units and let your tenants bring their own throw down carpets. Those plagued with allergies or who have pets will thank you plus you will seldom have a problem with floor stains or the bills involved with carpet replacement!

#2 Your forced air systems will need to be deep cleaned by a professional since the tar deposits containing the odor. All replaceable filters need to be replaced, guaranteed they will be a sooty brown/black color if the smoker was there for 5 years or so.

#3 All new paint on interiors and ceiling. If you have flocking on the ceiling it will retain the smoke residue so it’s your choice if you want to eliminate it. If it remains from the 1970’s it may contain asbestos, so probably better to just let it be.

#4 A very good smoke and general odor neutralizing spray for momentary odor problems is a product by Glade called Linen Scent. After spraying you will not have the odor ‘plus’ the fragrance, instead it will be greatly to completely neutralized.

#5 You as a landlord can choose not to rent to smokers or, if you do, agree to an upfront deposit that would cover such cleaning repairs upon their leaving.

Re: tenent smoking in unit - Posted by Eric (MI)

Posted by Eric (MI) on May 28, 2006 at 23:31:42:

John Corey mentioned hotels in his post. Being a smoker (terrible habit, I know) I try to stay in smoking rooms when I am traveling. It never ceases to amaze me that when you stay at any quality hotel you cannot smell the smoke in the rooms at check in. Honesty, I am not even sure why I get smoking rooms anyway because I only smoke inside on very rare occasions.

Anyway, I would call a hotel cleaning company (or the hotel) and ask what they do to get rid of the smoke smell. Can’t hurt to ask.

Re: tenent smoking in unit - Posted by Anne_ND

Posted by Anne_ND on May 28, 2006 at 08:07:17:

John’s right, those ozone machines do a good job on smoke smells. They are better on smoke than on pet odors, testimonials to the contrary.

I’d make it clear to the tenant that you want them to wash the walls before they leave- although that rarely is enough to clean them, so painting is probably in order.

I hope you have a strong lease and got a good security deposit. Paint and carpet are sometimes considered normal wear and tear by judges, so I doubt very much you’ll get extra money from the tenant for smoke damage. I suggest keeping the tenant there as long as possible, because obviously they don’t mind the walls or the smell.


Re: tenent smoking in unit - Posted by John Corey

Posted by John Corey on May 28, 2006 at 06:19:07:

It is possible to do with decent results.

One thing that I have been told works (I have not tried it) is an ion machine. There are firms that will rent them so you can shock the house and kill off other oders. I am not completely sure about smoke as it does not come from bacteria.

Hotels have the issue when they convert rooms and they successfully get it done following some process.

John Corey

Re: tenent smoking in unit - Posted by Natalie-VA

Posted by Natalie-VA on May 29, 2006 at 10:25:37:


I used to smoke outside when I was a smoker too.

I’ll bet those rooms really do smell like smoke when you get there; you just can’t smell it since you’re a smoker.


Re: tenent smoking in unit - Posted by ski

Posted by ski on May 28, 2006 at 16:36:06:

Found a really great product. EXPEL. Find it at expel.com.

Re: tenent smoking in unit - Posted by Eric (MI)

Posted by Eric (MI) on May 29, 2006 at 13:17:41:


Very good possibility. The funny thing is that I HATE the smell of smoke in enclosed areas. If I have to sit in a small closed in smoking room like at work I will NOT smoke at all. I won’t even smoke in my car for the most part since I don’t like the lingering smell.