RealManage Insight

Are Dirty Dryer Vents Posing A Safety Risk to Your Community?

by Jennifer Harvey on Sep 27, 2022 1:30:00 PM

Many people don't realize that one of the most dangerous rooms in their home is the laundry room. 

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Laundry rooms and dirty dryer vents alone are responsible for thousands of house fires each year, costing up to $75,000,000 worth of damage to people's homes. 

These fires are responsible for ruining many lives and causing millions of dollars worth of property damage. These fires stem from the flammability of dryer lint, which can quickly start a fire that can be devastating to the home and put the entire local community at risk, especially in multi-family units.

The good news is that some simple maintenance tasks can be done on a regular basis can help limit the risk of house fires and the damage that comes with them that can possibly put your entire community in danger.

How Can I Help Keep the Risk in My Community to a Minimum?

There are many reasons that you should keep the homes in your HOA up-to-date on cleaning their dirty dryer vents as it can help keep everyone in the community as safe as possible. The best way to go about cleaning your dryer vents is to hire professionals to take care of the job on a regular basis.  

The average cost to have a set of dryer vents cleaned out will run between $80 and $185 and should be done on an annual or every-two-year basis. The cost is fairly low compared to the costs of damages that a house fire could do if one should break out from a laundry room where the vents are dirty. 

Who Should Pay for the Vent Cleanings?

The association’s governing documents should specify who is responsible for the dryer vents and, therefore, who should have to pay for the vent cleaning process.

If the documents do not specify then usually this will be the homeowner's responsibility. But often, the association will cover the cost of the vent cleaning on an annual or every two-year basis, which can help incentivize more residents to get their vents cleaned, especially if it won't cost them anything additional out of pocket to do it. 

The association’s board of directors should consider including vent cleaning in their annual budget because residents are much more likely to get their dryer vents cleaned if it is. Doing so protects the safety of all the homes. 

How Do I Ensure That Residents Are Keeping Their Dryer Vents Clean?

Ensuring that residents are keeping up on their dryer vent cleanings can be challenging. However, having homeowners simply submit a receipt of or a certification that their dryer vents were cleaned on an annual or every two-year basis can help ensure that all households within the community are keeping up with the responsibility of dryer vent cleanings on a regular basis. 

How Do We Get Individuals to Comply?

Hopefully, everyone will have their dryer vents cleaned as specified by the association and turn in their receipt or certification of cleaning on an annual basis. 

In the event that someone does not comply, the association can institute a rule that allows the association to have it done and bill the owner afterward once they’ve been properly notified and continued to fail to take action. 

If your association does not have something in their current documents that allows the association to address this, then the Board can likely ask their association’s attorney to help create something.  

Conclusion

Associations have a compelling interest in making sure their community is a safe place for all residents to live. Reducing the risk of fire is vital to everyone’s safety.

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