While it may not be your worst nightmare as a landlord (plenty of other things can go wrong!), it is still pretty inconvenient when a tenant moves out and leaves your rental stinking of smoke and/or pets. As a landlord, you want a quick turnaround to get the property rented again so what can you do to get rid of the smells?
If it is not too bad, you will probably get away with a thorough deep-cleaning. If funds allow it, get in a professional cleaning company to:
- do a proper steam clean of all carpets and curtains.
- clean inside cupboards and walls and all other surfaces (even if the tenants cleaned everything before moving out, it will be worth it to do it again).
If you don’t have funds available, you can do a pretty good job yourself by using vinegar and water as well as baking soda. Of course the professionals will do a much better job, so always get someone in, if you can.
If the smells are really bad, the worst case scenario is that you may need to replace the carpets, curtains, counter tops, pretty much everything. Unless you were planning major renovations anyway, this can be quite an unexpected cost.
You may be able to claim the expense back as part of the tenant’s bond. Consumer Affairs Victoria state on their website that you may claim the bond if “there are cleaning or repair expenses that exceed normal ‘wear and tear’.” Cleaning up smoke and pet smells is definitely not regarded as normal wear and tear. Contact the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority if you wish to make a claim.
In the future to avoid this happening again, make sure you have it stated clearly in your contract that tenant’s are not to smoke or have pets inside, or get a larger bond to cover the expenses.
Have you had any experiences with tenants smoking or having pets inside? What did you do about it?