Q&A: Delinquent Dishwasher?

Dishwasher flat line icon. Household appliance for washing utensil, dishware. Outline sign for mobile concept and web design, store.

Q. Our association is self-managed with 12 units. An owner installed a dishwasher without any written request or approval from the board. The board told her that we believed this was a violation, since all 12 units share one water tank and one water meter. The water bill is included and paid with monthly assessments, and is the highest utility bill that the association pays. Our bylaws were written in the 1970s, and laws change. The owner’s defense here is that the dishwasher uses less water than doing dishes by hand. Are they in violation for not clearing the installation with the board beforehand? If so, what are our options? 

                            —Wanting What’s Fair

A. Attorney Steven G. Mlenak, partner at law firm Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis, LLP with offices in Woodbridge, Roseland, and Redbank, replies, “The answer to this is a simple ‘read your governing documents.’”

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Comments

  • You also need explore what is the capacity and condition of your building's infrastructure. A burst that damages more than one or two of your units could put you under financially, depending on what, if any, capital reserve you have. Our building allows dishwashers, but not washers and dryers, because the grey water pipes simply can't handle the load. My experience is that you should at least be reviewing your By-Laws once every 10 years, and you really should have a reserve study for scheduled infrastructure maintenance. Doing those things also leaves you on a much stronger ground to deal with the occasional violation. Your neighbor may turn out to be right, freeing all of you to run your new dishwashers on off hours when electricity and hot water usage may be cheaper.