Can you relate to this scenario? It’s the middle of July, and one of your perfectly good units continues to stand empty. You just finished having it renovated. New carpets and counter tops are installed, and the whole place has a new coat of paint. Despite all that time and expense, however, tenants continue to back out upon viewing the unit. Those who bother to comment say the same thing: there is a lingering, unpleasant odor. Thanks to the previous tenant’s pet, you now have a living space that no one wants to live in.
Lingering odor is a very common problem that a lot of property managers face. Even after renovation, strong smells from cooking, smoke, pets, and more can haunt a unit for quite a while. This is especially true during the summer months, where the heat can make the smell overpowering. You may think that replacing the carpet will be enough to get rid of most smells. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Odors can actually be absorbed into virtually all layers of the walls and floor. Drywall, baseboards, tack strips, and even concrete can retain smells for a long period of time.
Now, you might figure that smell alone would never be enough of a reason to drive away business. All it takes is a few hours in a smoke-damaged space, however, for that notion to be completely dispelled. Smell is one of the most powerful senses we have, and the strongest lingering smells also tend to be the worst. It is not uncommon for people to move from one unit to another, or even leave completely, just because of a smell that won’t go away. Not properly addressing this issue can cost you hundreds or even thousands in lost rent very quickly, especially if the problem is present in multiple units.
So now that you know the cost of ignoring the problem, how do you solve it? Obviously, tearing down the whole unit would be overreacting. As we’ve already covered, however, your usual renovations alone probably won’t get rid of the problem. There are a number of common fixes you could try, but they have their own set of challenges to consider. Join us next week when we cover the common ways people get rid of lingering odor, along with a new and better way to do it!