Making A Stink About Condo Odours | Managing Condo Smells

Date Published : Oct-26-2018

Written By : Dale

Odour is a point of contention in any shared space, condos are no exception. Whether they come from individual units or common areas, strong smells affect everyone. We take a look at managing some of the most common condo odours tenants are raising a stink about.


What smells delicious to one nose can be overwhelming to another. When the smells of dinner waft into the halls it can create dispute or displeasure between neighbours, especially with lingering odours. It’s important to regulate disputes early, but managing cooking smells does have its own challenges.
You can’t really stop a condo owner from cooking what they like. At best it’s upsetting, at worst it can come across as culturally insensitive. Instead, you have to find ways to manage smells and prevent them from spreading.
In some cases, these problems are as simple as a broken fan over the stove. A properly running fan helps prevent steam from causing water damage in the kitchen, while also helping to manage smells. Having an easy-to-use condo service request system can help 
Cooperative tenants may also agree to keep a window open. As well, the suite doors should be kept closed at all times and never propped open. While this prevents smells from dispersing into the hallway, it is also a fire code rule.
If your building is having problems with odours from units getting into the halls the ventilation system should be checked. A properly configured ventilation system pushes air under suite doors and into the units – which prevents smells from seeping into the hall.


For many non-smokers, the scent of smoking is unbearable. And it’s not just the smell. People worry about the health effects of secondhand smoke and property damage/devaluation. All are legitimate concerns and should be addressed proactively.
Most condos have smoking regulations put in place. These rules range from outright bans on smoking to stating where smoking is allowed on condo balconies. If your condo has no such regulation in place, it’s best to create one before problems arise.
The regulations should have clear outlines of what is allowed and the repercussions of breaking the rules. It’s important to follow through with enforcing regulations to ensure they’re effective and to avoid showing favouritism.
Resources: In Canada, the government is preparing to legalize cannabis. Learn how to prepare with our article on Managing Cannabis Legislation in Condos.


Smelly garbage is a common complaint in condo buildings. To get to a solution, it’s important to figure out the source of the problem. This let’s condo managers know whether the system needs repair, adjustments, or if it’s a tenant-related issue.
A reliable condo maintenance system is important to prevent costly garbage chute repairs. And smell is not the only problem. A stinky garbage chute can be a symptom of bigger problems. Allergens and bacteria, like salmonella and e. Coli, can grow inside unmaintained garbage chutes and trash rooms. They can also result in fire hazards, or create a breeding ground for mice, rats, and bugs.
Other issues may require an adjustment to the current garbage removal and disposal system. For example, if your garbage bins are always overflowing you may need more dumpsters and/or more frequent pickups.
Another potential problem is having dumpsters too close to entrance ways or living areas. It’s no tenants dream to live in a unit that smells like the entire condos trash. This can be a problem in back entrances and parking entryways as well. Try and find a home for the dumpsters that have minimal impact on the tenants.
Tenant abuse of the system is a common cause for smelly garbage. It’s important to communicate garbage policies and make them accessible to residents. For example, if your condo has specific days for removing garbage and or compostable waste, make sure everyone is aware of the schedule. Mass emails and announcements can provide info to all tenants, and condo websites and forums are a great place to make the information available at any time.
For other installing a security camera can help identify abuse of trash systems. Often, people leave large objects beside the garbage chute when they can’t or won’t break them down. If they leave garbage here it will smell in the halls until the problem is resolved.

Leaks & Damages

Sometimes, condo odours are signs of a bigger problem. Often, it is an indicator of damage. It’s always worth investigating a strong odour, to avoid damage becoming a major problem.
Leaky pipes, for example, can result in a pungent, mouldy odour. While the smell is unpleasant, it’s the least of these issues. Left unchecked, the water damage from the leak can cause structural damage to the building. As well, mould growth, especially black mould, can cause serious health problems for residents. Mould clean up of an area over 10 feet should be handled by professionals.
As well, the longer the leak goes without fixing, the larger the leak becomes. Pipes may require replacing instead of repairing, and the resulting damage gets worse.

Manage Condo Odours With Online Property Management Software

Keep track of service requests, tenant complaints, maintenance scheduling and repairs with an online property management system. Set up automated reminders for maintenance to help prevent damage, and get quick updates about tenant requests and complaints to resolve issues before they worsen.
Digital property management is essential for productive, proactive condo managers. Contact Condo Control Central today to see how our software can simplify your property management tasks.

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