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Consistent tenant-smell issues, what's next? - Landlord Forum thread 361656

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Consistent tenant-smell issues, what's next? by laura59 on December 1, 2021 @10:43

I have a small rental building of 6 units. It's old and there is no modern ventilation - just basic AC and heat (unit vents are all connected) and windows.

2 of my tenants have been making complaints of someone's cooking odor, and both agree on who it might be. I agree with their guess of who it is. They are not cooking ethnic foods - this is a constant burning smell. I have smelled it. It's like they are making something with dirty pans and the crusted food is constantly burning. It's also a heavy onion and garlic stink that burns.

The smell stinks up the entire building as well - the hallways, mail room, and basement where laundry is. My tenants have said they cannot hang laundry because it will smell. One tenant told me they have to leave the property when it stinks, and both said that they cannot eat. Twice, both of them have almost run out of the building because the burning smell was so strong that they thought the building was on fire. These 2 tenants are reputable people, they're not overreacting, I trust their word because I've smelled it too.

I have politely told every tenant (as to not point fingers) to open their windows and use their exhaust fan when cooking. I have been at the building when I smell the cooking/burning happening, and no windows are open, other than the tentants who inform me of the smell. They have to open all their windows in freezing cold weather and use space heaters. It's no way to live but I don't know what to do. I make phone calls to all tenants to remind them, but they all tell me they're not cooking -- so the culprit is lying.

I've been told there's nothing I can do because people are allowed to cook. But this is not just a cooking smell - this is a thick burning smell. I don't feel it's right that 2 of my tenants cannot use their unit freely.

What can I do? Can I ask to go inside the apartment during the smell and investigate? My husband used to be the main landlord here, and since he passed I have been acting as landlord, but I don't know what to do. We didn't have this problem before. Thank you. Anything helps.
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Re: Consistent tenant-smell issues, what's next? by laura59 on December 1, 2021 @10:46 [ Reply ]
Additional information --- the smell also lasts all day and through the night. It's not something that disappears easily. My tenants are upset that their units stink and their belongings (clothes, curtains, bedding) all apparently smell like burnt food. So it's not a temporary smell, it occurs at least 3 times a week, at any hour (8am, 2pm, 10pm)
Re: Consistent tenant-smell issues, what's next? by Lpadave on December 2, 2021 @05:34 [ Reply ]
Welcome to the brave new world

Be careful about descrimination claims based on ethnic or food issues
Communicate in writing TO EACH OF ALL TENANTS exactly the same.

Sounds like the odors are moving between units through the floors and walls, not uncommon in older buildings. You'll spend a lot of money trying to address that.

Probably with little actual success.

Are your smoke co and fire protection devices all in order ?
Are you doing unit inspections at least twice a year.

Housekeeping issues and kitchen cleanliness might get you somewhere.
Infestations of pests is a ritiously cause for action.
filthy stove / oven is both a fire and health saftey issue.

Over stove vent hoods ducted to exterior would be my recommendation, again for all units. If physical layout can accommodate.

You're gonna be spending some money here, one way or the other.
Try to avoid spending it on lawyers.

Cash for keys and on their way ?

Re: Consistent tenant-smell issues, what's next? by Robert on December 10, 2021 @11:10 [ Reply ]
Sometimes all you can do is wait until end of lease and have them move.

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