C.J. from Middlesex County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
The Association contracted with a company to clean dryer vents as has been the practice for the past 6 years. This year, vents in some units were found to be disconnected from the exterior vent. The parts visible and accessible from inside those units are properly connected. The area where the vents are disconnected are located in inaccessible attic space where there has been no activity since the last vent cleaning. Unit owners have been told they are responsible for reconnection. It would appear that either the most recent or past cleaning is the only factor that could have resulted in disconnection, so isn’t this Association responsibility since the disconnection most likely occurred during an activity the Board contracted for?
Mister Condo replies:
C.J., your logic is undeniable but, alas, your evidence is circumstantial, at best. I fully agree with you that the most likely culprit was the vent cleaning contractor but there is simply no way to prove the allegation. If the responsibility for the dryer vent connection lies with the unit owner, then they are on the hook. However, your voices should be heard by the Board (some of whom I am assuming were also affected by this problem) that you will not tolerate shoddy workmanship in the future and that the dryer vents should be cleaned and not damaged. Further, unit owners should demand that an inspection of the dryer vents be made upon completion of the cleaning to determine that no damage has occurred. My guess is this isn’t a terribly expensive repair but there is no reason unit owners should get bilked out of even a penny if it is preventable. I would also suggest that the Board strongly consider hiring a different vendor for the cleaning seeing as this last vendor has cost unit owners extra repair money. By all means, keep cleaning the dryer vents. Clean dryer vents are still at the top of fire prevention lists. All the best!