A horrifying photo recently posted on Reddit shows how a negligent landlord can drive up a tenant’s bills and even cause a fire hazard.
The post appeared in early March on r/LandlordLove, an ironically-named subreddit for tenants to share the problems they’ve experienced with landlords. A lack of appropriate maintenance is a common complaint on the subreddit.
Even so, this poster’s claim seems especially serious. “Moved into a new place and the clothes wouldn’t dry,” the poster says before sharing a photo of the back of their dryer. The duct has been removed to show that the entire vent is clogged with matted lint and debris.
According to Consumer Reports, clogged dryer vents severely lower the performance of the dryer, which means it takes more energy and costs more money to get clothes dry. Worse, the buildup of highly-flammable lint creates a severe fire hazard, especially since it’s inside a heat-generating appliance.
About 27% of dryer fires are caused by lint, which is why Consumer Reports recommends that the duct should be cleaned once a year, at minimum.
Despite these clear guidelines, commenters report that this problem is common. “Can’t imagine what mine look like,” says one user. “I’ve been here over 12 years, and even after asking, they still haven’t cleaned the dryer vents in any of the 4 apartments here.”
For tenants coping with a clogged dryer vent and a soaring power bill, line drying is a safe, energy-saving solution. Clotheslines are even legally protected in some states, ensuring the right to dry your clothing without interference from a landlord or HOA.
The original poster may want to switch to line drying soon, as their landlord seems reluctant to fix the lint issue. In an update in the comments, they report that their landlord came but has only partially cleaned the ducts, despite being told that the original poster has called a county inspector. “I’m assuming he thought I was bluffing, because 30 minutes later he leaves,” the poster says. “If he doesn’t do it right, he will be fined.”
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