Tenant suspects clothes dryer vents involved

Barry Stone
Inman News

Dear Barry,

We live in a six-unit apartment building, and the dryer exhaust ducts for all six of the laundry rooms blow into my attic. Every few months, the landlord’s maintenance man goes into the attic to remove the lint that clogs the neighbor’s dryer vents. He insists that this is not a problem, but I’m afraid it is causing the moldy smell in our apartment. What is your opinion of this situation? –Wendy

Dear Wendy,

It is not legal for a clothes dryer exhaust vent to terminate within the confines of a building, either in the foundation crawlspace or the attic. Section 504.3.1 of the Uniform Mechanical Code states that: “Moisture-exhaust ducts for domestic clothes dryers shall terminate on the outside of the building.

There are two reasons for this requirement: 1) Moisture condensation can promote the growth of fungus or mold; and 2) The accumulation of lint can pose a fire hazard. Therefore, someone should extend the dryer vents in your building through the nearest exterior wall or through the roof.

The moisture from six laundries could definitely be causing mold or fungus growth in your attic. To determine possible mold infection, a professional mold consultant should conduct a thorough survey of your home to determine the types of mold that may be present and the proper means of remediation if hazardous mold is found. At the same time, a pest control operator should inspect the attic for fungus infection of wood framing and resultant dryrot.

Dear Barry,

Our home is nearly a year old. Before we bought it, my husband pointed out to the builder that the French doors were poorly fitted and needed to be repaired. The builder said he would take care of it, but he never did. We’ve continued to ask, but the doors remain the same. Recently, we threatened him with legal action. He just got mad and said, “You just took the game to a new level!”

Now he won’t even talk to us. Recently, we had a home inspection, and the inspector agreed that the doors were poorly installed. How can we resolve this situation?

–Victoria

Dear Victoria,

The builder has declared his readiness to work with you on what he calls “the next level.” So let the next level begin. Step one is to document all future communications, the first of which is to send him a certified letter. Inform him that you have made repeated requests to have the door defects repaired and that this is your final demand. Let him know that he has 30 days to complete the necessary work; that if the work is not completed by that time you will hire another contractor to repair or replace the doors and will take legal action to hold him responsible for the costs of those repairs. In the meantime, get written repair bids from reputable door contractors.

If the builder fails to perform, take him to small claims court and get a judgment for the repair costs indicated on those bids. But before you proceed, spend an hour with an attorney who can advise you on the preparation and presentation of your case.

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