We closed on this new construction townhome in January 2014. 6 1/2 years later, cleaning the Panasonic exhaust fans in all 4 bathrooms, to my astonishment, basement bathroom fan has no ductwork. Fan works fine, just no ductwork leading anywhere. Steam from shower and everything else went into airspace between basement and main floor. Any recourse here to the builder and town inspector who evidently 'didn't’ inspect? Thanks

  • Are there any vents on the outside wall?
    – JACK
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 23:25
  • 1
    Local inspectors usually don't inspect in a detailed manner. The HVAC inspector probably spent all of 10 minutes on site. IMO they count on the licensed contractors to do the job right, and don't have the time to look at all of the details of the work. Heck, I had an electrical upgrade signed off where 20 amp breakers were feeding 14 gauge cable.
    – SteveSh
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 23:41
  • No indication of where "here" is, so none of us will know the local laws. I'd suggest calling the local building inspector and asking them to stop by and take a look at the situation to find out what they'd suggest, since they seem to have missed this in the first place. Odds are good, though, unless your place came with a "home warranty" that's still in effect, that you're on your own dime to get this fixed.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 15:25
  • What building codes are in force in your area? (If they're anything like the model Codes, what you've found is a pretty clear violation, IRC M1501.1 is the precise citation you're after BTW) Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 23:12
  • Hi all and thanks. I’m in fishkill ny and this has me livid. I’m reluctant to get the town inspector because he’s the one who cleared this. I can’t believe this. Though it’s unprovable, can this be intentional? I can’t believe someone in the trades actually didn’t finish this and walked away. There is a vent outside but the rigid Duct is going somewhere else that’s tough to trace. It’s a finished basement. I took out all the recessed light cans to try and trace it, but still tough. Like I stated, There’s 6.5 years of showering and toileting and I’m so infuriated feel like talking to a lawyer.
    – eddie E
    Commented Jul 7, 2020 at 16:36

1 Answer 1


Assuming you are in the US, the cost to correct it likely falls under the limits for Small Claims Court. So you could request a remedy from the builder and if they refuse, sue them in Small Claims under "implied warranty", meaning it is implied that something you buy will do what it is intended to do. Exhaust fans must exhaust, this one never did, so the length of time, although possibly subject to a statute of limitations, should not be a factor. In many places the statute of limitations is 3 or 4 years, others might be 7, so get on it!

This of course assumes that the builder is still a viable business entity.

  • Yeah, I'd say that there's an implied warranty that your house complies with the local building codes (if there are any, that is) Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 23:12

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