D.L. from San Bernardino County, California writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
My wife and I live in a condo complex where we live upstairs and our unit is above the garage. The person next to us is downstairs and their dryer vent comes up from their unit and goes in between our floor and the roof of their garage. When they run their clothes dryer, it makes a noise like a compressor is running and it vibrates our floor and vibrates all the way up the walls. You can hear it in our whole unit and mostly they run it in the middle of the night! We can’t sleep at night when this is going on. We have spoken to the owner who does not live there; he rents it out. My wife did catch him coming by once and spoke to him about it, while his garage was open and his dryer just happened to be running. She showed him the noise and explained it to him and he acted like it was not coming from his dryer which we are positive it is. He acts like he does not care so we have spoken to our HOA told him either his vent needs cleaned because we are sure it has not been cleaned in years or else the dryer vent in between our floor in his garage ceiling is loose. The HOA says they are going to notify him he has 15 days to have the dryer vent cleaned because we also pointed out it is a fire hazard. Don’t know if the HOA really is going to do anything to him would like to know from you are they responsible to make sure he corrects this issue and if they don’t can we take legal action against HOA or the homeowner?
Mister Condo replies:
D.L., what a terrible situation! Having to put up with a noise like that most certainly ruins your peaceful enjoyment of your condominium. You have alerted the Board which is a good first step but I think you will need to do much more if this noise is to be tamed. Dryer vent cleaning is important for all units because lint build up is a tremendous fire hazard that puts all unit owners at risk. The Board needs a policy in place to make sure all dryer vents are cleaned regularly. If that doesn’t stop the noise, you might want to ask for an HVAC engineer or other qualified professional to come analyze the problem and provide possible solutions. It is unlikely that the renter is going to change behavior as he seemed to deny that he was responsible in any way for the noise in your unit. Again, if the noise continues after the dryer vent cleaning, you will need to complain to the Board once again. This is your only remedy at this point. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, your final option may be to engage an attorney and see what legal remedies may be available to you. All the best!