Q. My association has a long-standing resolution that requires all owners to have their dryer vents cleaned every other year, and to submit a receipt from the cleaning vendor to the management company. The resolution correctly identifies the paragraph in our master deed stating that the unit’s dryer vent is part of the unit, and therefore it is the unit owner’s responsibility to pay for vent cleaning. This year however, the board announced that all dryer vent cleaning would be paid for by the association from our maintenance fees, and provided owners with the board’s selected vendor and the cost. (If all owners take advantage of this offer, the cost to the association would be just under $11,000). To many owners, this is a popular decision. My question, though, is can a board make such a decision that is in direct conflict with the master deed and our own resolution?
A. “The ultimate answer to this question may lie in the master deed of this particular condominium,” says Elysa D. Bergenfeld, Esq., attorney at Ansell Grimm & Aaron, P.C., in Princeton. “In turn, no useful response can be given without having first engaged in a thorough review of that master deed. That being said, it may very well be appropriate and lawful for a condominium to utilize common expenses to ensure the cleanliness and safety of all dryer vents.”