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"No Washing Machine" Policy: Is It Still an Issue?

January 10, 2019

These days we can hardly imagine our lives without useful appliances that improve our daily routine. You’ll probably agree that home appliances like air conditioners, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines, etc. make life easier. Landlords aim to add as many helpful items as possible to increase their rental price, but this doesn’t always refer to washing machines, as there seem to be way too many issues with these devices.

Why do landlords disallow using washing machines in the rental properties

Let’s analyze the points below to see whether the “no washing machine” policy is still relevant:

 

How it all started.

I won’t waste time on early laundry methods and tools, since you probably have an idea what the Great Wash looked like in the Middle Ages, for example. The most interesting part started when people first heard of a hand powered washing machine. Despite the euphoria around the invention, most couldn’t afford even the least expensive washer. It was a privilege of the rich.

The history of the modern washing machine goes back to the Industrial Revolution. The first were invented in the 1850s, with the first commercial electric washer being introduced in 1908. A few decades ago it was fairly uncommon to have a washing machine in an apartment. Landlords established a “no washing machine” policy to prevent serious damages as well as maintenance they would have to be responsible for.

To allow or not to allow.

Let’s come clean about why you, as a landlord, might not allow your tenants to use a washing machine in your rental. The following three scenarios highlight the main reasons.

  1. Ellen, a landlord in New York, received a washing machine from her previous renter after they moved out. When listing the unit, Ellen specified that there was a washer left from the previous tenant. No additional maintenance information was provided. When the next tenant asked Ellen to fix or replace the broken washer, she refused, as there were no clauses in the lease that stated the landlord would repair this appliance. As a rule, the apartment is rented along with the appliances, so obviously the tenant has the right to require the maintenance no matter what. How would you resolve the issue?

  2. Did you know American washing machines are usually bigger in size than their European counterparts? Depending on the size of your rental, there simply may not be enough space for a washer in the apartment. Another tenant asked Ellen if he was allowed to bring his own washing machine, since there wasn’t any in the unit. Ellen didn’t mind, because he promised to install it himself and service or replace it if it failed. But as it turned out, there just wasn’t enough room for a full-size washing machine.

  3. Many old apartments haven’t been adapted for in-unit washers and dryers. Multi-family buildings were usually constructed with the laundry area in a concrete basement. With no washing machine hookups and the high risk of water damage, old buildings make it basically impossible to install these devices in the unit. A self-service laundry seems to be the best workaround out there.

Coin-operated laundry vs. portable washing machine.

Coin-operated washing machines are common in most American cities, where people don’t have access to personal laundry due to the above-mentioned circumstances. The basic advantages of using coin-operated washing machines are as follows:

  • The ability to use multiple washers at once.

  • Time to read, make phone calls, or answer emails while doing your laundry. Don’t imagine you’ll be wasting your weekend on the “laundry ritual.”  

  • The low-risk of water damage, mold growth, and floor and ceiling cracks in the apartment.

Alternatively, you can encourage your tenants to use portable washing machines. The operation is pretty simple, and the price is attractive. It must be placed in the bathroom or kitchen, though, as the hose needs to drain into the sink. Keep in mind that depending on the model and instructions, the functionality may vary.

Do you allow using washing machines in your rental properties, or are you sticking to the “no washing machine” policy? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic.:)