My tenant in Illinois complains of odor of something dead from one floor vent. Not overpowering but there.
He's lived there almost a year so far so this is new.
Not a terrible problem but I am a financially poor landlord (not slumlord)(getting paid off in a year, finally, yey!). I would like to keep what little money I make to cover major malfunction and I don't think I'm required to clean vents by law. I wish that he would take initiative and try to problem solve himself but he apparently wants me to do something. I'm not on location and have to pay manager for each incident.
My initial thoughts of response is to have him take vent cover off and look and then use a flex hose vacuum. Perhaps set an air wick deodorizer inside of the vent.
First congrats on having your rental paid off in a year. Unfortunately you are running into a problem a lot of landlords with no reserves run into when issues like this come up.
This kind of put you at the edge of becoming a slumlord. Personally as a landlord I am going to protect my investment. I would at least get the issue looked at by an independent party. Not the tenant because who knows what happens if you let/tell/suggest the tenant handle this. I don't want them taking off vent covers and guessing this and that.
This could be nothing, or could be something beginning. I want to know exactly what this is and get it taken care of. I would not want to live in a place where I smelled what I thought was an odor and nothing was being done to see what it is. No telling what is causing the odor until it is properly checked out.
When was the last time the HVAC system was checked out? Start there.