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CCOC Decision Summary

#423-O, Minni v. Leisure World Mutual 14 (March 24, 1999) (Bromberg, Subin, Wertlieb)

The condominium owner (CO) disputed several repair bills charged to him by his condominium association (CA).

The evidence at the hearing showed that the CA, in one of its newsletters sent to all residents, had instructed the residents to contact the assistant property manager for any repairs.  The CA had also determined to replace all the "Symmons" valves on the residents' clothes dryers with "Watts" valves at no charge to the residents. It also had a program of inspecting and cleaning dryer vents every two years to avoid clogging. Subsequently, in January, 1999, the CO noticed his clothes dryer overheating and found a clogged dryer vent.  Instead of contacting the property manager, he contacted the repair office of the master association, Leisure World of Maryland, which arranged for repairs.  The repairmen replaced the CO's existing "Symmons" valve with a new "Symmons" valve at a cost of $26; they also created considerable debris which resulted in 2 extra hours of cleanup labor, for which they charged $52.00.  If the CO had contacted the CA's property manager directly, as the newsletter instructed, the work would have been performed at no charge under the "Symmons" valve replacement program and the biennial cleaning program.

The hearing panel determined that the CA had reasonably communicated the proper repair procedures to the CO, and that the CO was at fault for not having followed the proper procedures.  Therefore the CO must pay the $26 valve replacement fee passed on by the master association.  However, the panel also ruled that the cleanup costs were excessive and caused by the workers, and that therefore the CO was not liable for the $52 cleanup fee.

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