Post # 1
We just moved into our new rental home this weekend. The previous tentants had three small dogs and a cat. We have two dogs, I understand a slight animal smell is expected. What I did not expect was a STRONG animal smell, like i’m pretty sure they let their pets use the bathroom in the house. I have left a VM with the property managment company but I doubt they will do anything (I say this bc while the house is nice it was clear when we moved in that they did very little to prep for us, they did not fill nail holes and touch up paint, clean or do anything about the smell so I doubt they will do it after the fact.) Thankfully it is hardwood floors and no carpet so thats not the issue. I have spent the last two days cleaning everything…..like toothbrush to the baseboards clean. I really thought a deep cleaning would help but it hasn’t. I’ve plugged in oil warmers in all the rooms, burned candles all day, sprayed lysol. I don’t know what to do about the smell. Again, its not a ‘oh they had dogs’ smell, its a ‘oh they let their animals go to the bathroom inside’ smell. Anyone been in this situation and can offer advice? While i’m on it, anyone ever moved into a house and it wasn’t painted or clean? I thought for sure this was a part of ‘move in ready’….
Post # 2
Check your local landlord/tenant laws. There is usually a clause about minimum livable standards for the property. “Move in ready” in most places only means “broom clean” like surface clean as opposed to deep clean, fresh paint, etc. BUT the urine smell would generally mean the house doesn’t meet minimum standards of living. So you should focus on getting that fixed and not worry about the touch up paint, etc.
It’s really hard to get urine smells out of the floor boards. It may require ripping up the floor, which is expensive and the landlord is probably going to push back on that. I’d recommend getting a home inspector out, preferably on a day when you haven’t just cleaned, because the home inspector can document the smell, the location and the likely cause. You can then take that, and a copy of the landlord/tenant laws regarding sanitation, and give them to the property management company. Give them these choices: fix the problem immediately to your satisfaction, relocate you to an equal or better property at the same rent, or approve you to hire the repairs done, with you paying for the repairs but withholding an equal amount of rent.
Post # 3
Try going to a pet store and purchasing some “Nature’s Miracle” brand cleaning products. Then clean everything. This is what I use if I am somewhere where other people’s pets have gone to the bathroom, because if my dog can smell it, he will go there as some sort of marking behavior. If it can make it so he can’t smell it anymore, it should work for you too!
Post # 4
Agreed on this.
Everywhere I’ve rented has been “broom clean”. Not obviously dirty, but not spotless, certainly not professionally cleaned, dust and pet hair in the corners, dead bugs on the window sills, etc. Most places I’ve lived also did not receive a fresh coat of paint and did have some nail holes or anchors still in the walls. When I lived in Boston people moved out and into the same apartment on the same day, so management companies didn’t even check out the apartments at all before the new tennant moved in.
You shouldn’t have to deal with the smell though. I’d talk to them immediately to try to get a professional in there to try to deal with the smell. If they can’t get the smell out or refuse to, then you may have cause to break the lease, but you’d probably have to consult a landlord-tennant lawyer to get more specifics on the laws in your area and how to go about proceeding if the landlord doesn’t want to cooperate.
Post # 5
If you’re still smelling it it has to be still there somehow, like soaked into the floorboards or wall? If that’s the case you might need the property company to remove some floor boards or something? Have you left the windows open for a couple days? That might help you isolate the problem areas?
Post # 6
OdoBan works miracles. I bought a house that had an awful dog/cat smell. The previous owners had 4 inside dogs and 3 cats, in a 1200 sq foot house, and it was obvious that they were too lazy to take them out/change litter boxes. It was a major project home, and the smell was worse than any of the upgrades we needed to do. Someone suggested OdoBan, which helped a LOT. We had already ripped up carpet and painted all of the walls, and refinished the hardwood that was under the carpet and the smell was still there.. so the smell was THAT bad.
You can get OdoBan at Walmart, any hardware store, cleaning supply store, etc. It is STRONG, though. You need to dilute it if you get the concentrated kind (big bottle, definitely a better deal). We scrubbed and mopped all of the floors, walls and cabinets with it (the previous owners had apparently let the animals urinate wherever they wanted, including in/on the cabinets). You will want to do this in the morning and let your apartment air out all day.. or even stay somewhere else that night and keep the windows cracked, because it will take awhile for the chemical smell to go away.
The other thing we used to help was Killz paint/primer, but that would probably be something your landlord would have to do, unless they have given you permission to paint any walls. We used it as a primer in some areas of the house that were worse than others.
Post # 7
Thanks everyone! We will try the Natures Miracle and/or the OdoBan. We spoke with the property management company and the lady told me to give it a few days to air out…..so not much help there! Ahh the joys of renting!
Post # 8
you can also get scented air filters. It won’t help as far as cleaning if there are actual stains left over, but it will eliminate the smell (and make the house smell good all the time)!
Post # 9
Odor sponges work well for pet smells. It takes a few weeks to suck the smell out of the air, and I am not a big fan of the smell of the sponges, but it goes away along with the pet smell. I have used it for a cat pee smell previously, and it really worked. You can find them on Amazon.
Post # 10
Be sure to send a letter and keep a copy outlining the problem and what you’re going to try so they don’t try to blame you when you move out.
Post # 11
If the animals have gone to the bathroom on hardwood floor even only once my landlord told me there’s nothing that can be done with cleaning. They’d have to replace the wood floors. She told us thats why they require a $300 pet deposit on top of the security deposit because it’s happened & they tried everything but had to replace the wood floors-which is expensive. I’m sorry this is a problem for you- I hope it gets fixed soon!