Monday, 19 November 2018
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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

Ask the HOA Expert: Dryer Vents, Noisy Neighbors and Yard Sales

Written by Posted On Monday, 15 October 2018 09:00

Question: How frequently should dryer vents in common wall HOAs be cleaned and repaired?

Answer: Dryer vents are the source of fires and water damage (leaks in the ceiling) so should be checked and cleaned at least once a year or when alerted by residents. Surveying the exterior vent openings determines the scope of work since it's easy to see evidence of lint buildup. Removing selected vent covers and using a shop vac with extended hose attachment to remove the lint usually does the trick although a snake with pipe brush attachment may be needed to remove heavy buildup. Be careful to use appropriate equipment based on whether you are cleaning solid metal or plastic pipe versus the more flimsy flexible plastic pipe. The wrong kind of snake will easily damage the flexible pipe.

Clean only those vent pipes that have an obvious need except in the cases where there is documented interior water damage. In those cases, cleaning is necessary to remove water from the vent pipe. It may also be necessary to open the ceiling to correct the vent pipe orientation since water leaks from laundry vents are usually caused by a flexible pipe that has bellied out.

Vents with broken exterior flappers should be replaced to prevent bird nesting. This should be done as necessary when alerted by residents, management or maintenance.

Question: We have had repeated noise problems from a neighboring resident. We have endured everything from the radio blaring first thing in the morning, to parties with his drinking buddies late at night, to being awakened in the middle of the night by his vacuuming and furniture assembly. Honestly, who needs to be hammering at 1:40 am? We have tried every nice way we can think of including notes and phone calls. What can we do?

Answer: Disturbing the peace is against the law. You've done what any reasonable person could do. Remind your neighbor in writing one more time how many times you have requested his cooperation and inform him that the next time it happens, you will call the police. And DO it. If he insists on being inconsiderate, he should reap the consequences.

Question: I asked permission from the board for a yard sale. The board responded that yard sales were not permitted due to Aliability issues@.

Answer: Life is fraught with risk but yard sales don=t generally come to mind as high risk activities. It sounds like the board has been terrorized by an attorney or insurance agent. Usually, the issue in HOA garage/yard sales is the additional traffic and parking they generate. Some HOAs have almost no extra parking or narrow streets so sales create a real problem. In those situations, sales are not appropriate. If this isn't the case, the board is overreacting.

For more innovative homeowner association management strategies, subscribe to www.Regenesis.net

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Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson owns Regenesis, a management consulting company that specializes in condominium and homeowner associations. He is a nationally recognized expert on HOA management issues.

Regenesis publishes The Regenesis Report, a monthly newsletter for HOA boards, developers and managers. To subscribe, go to Regenesis.net. He can be contacted by email at rich@regenesis.net.

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