By Jessica Baker, Esq.

The laundry room can be the most dangerous room in your home. While a clothes dryer does not seem threatening, according to the National Fire Protection Association, it is the cause of approximately 15,000 house fires each year totaling millions of dollars in damage.

Dryer lint is very flammable. It quickly accumulates inside the dryer vent and ductwork, putting your unit and potentially the entire community at risk. In addition, dryer lint buildup reduces airflow, increases costs, and can lead to mold and mildew. To prevent this, dryer vents and ducts should be cleaned on a regular basis.

Community associations have a legitimate interest in making sure that all the dryer vents in their communities are properly maintained. The relatively minor cost of having a professional clean a dryer vent and ensure it is in working order can help prevent significant damage to the community.

To ensure that owners are maintaining their dryer vents, association boards should adopt a resolution requiring owners to clean their dryer vents and submit receipts or a certification of compliance on a yearly or every-other-year basis, if such resolution is permitted by your community’s governing documents. If owners do not have their dryer vent cleaned, your association may be able to assess fines or force compliance; however, your association’s counsel will advise if your governing documents allow for such action. If necessary, legal action may be able to be taken to ensure compliance and keep the community safe.

Although easily overlooked, regular dryer vent cleanings are an important area of concern for associations. Rules regarding cleanings should be established and enforced. If your community does not have rules regarding regular cleaning of dryer vents, counsel can help your association adopt a resolution.

For more information on this or any other issue concerning your community association, please contact one of our Community Associations attorneys. For breaking news or updates on new blog posts, follow us on Twitter at: @njcondolaw, on Facebook at: njcondolaw, and on LinkedIn at: Hill Wallack Community Association Attorneys.