Author Topic: Please help me solve my laundry dilemma!  (Read 1344 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Please help me solve my laundry dilemma!
« on: June 16, 2016, 09:50:48 AM »
A little background:

I've owned this 4-unit property for a little less than a year. The complex has a shared (free for the tenants) laundry room - one washer and one dryer. Unfortunately, the utilities for the laundry room are tied to one of the units. The previous landlord would work out a deal where she would pay that unit's water bill, in exchange for that tenant being on the hook for the added electricity and gas being used by the washer/dryer.

I like the idea of offering on-site laundry as I believe it gives me a leg up on the competition, but I don't want to be responsible for one of the tenants' water bill. What would you do here? I see several options:

Option A:
I could get the laundry room switched over to it's own utilities. I would pay the monthly bills and would likely have coin-op laundry installed. Connecting to the city water line is several thousand dollars.

Option B:
Install washer/dryer hook ups in each unit so that the tenant could bring and install a stackable washer/dryer unit if they so chose.

Option C:
Leave the laundry situation as-is.

Option D:
Do away with on-site laundry entirely.

Captain FIRE

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Re: Please help me solve my laundry dilemma!
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2016, 10:11:19 AM »
Or Option E
Cover the electricity and gas of the unit connected to the utility room.  Raise the rent a reasonable amount as needed to cover this.  (You should be able to get the past bills for the past year - that's public knowledge near me.)

In my area, it's common to have heat & hot water included in the rent, because it's old buildings that don't have separate meters/ways to control the temp.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Please help me solve my laundry dilemma!
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2016, 11:13:19 AM »
I like option B best. However, I'd supply and install the units myself. This gives you an ever bigger leg up on the competition, plus avoids any headaches caused by the tenants having to share resources. Do not let tenants install themselves, there's every chance they will screw up and cause water/venting damage that you'll then be on the hook for.

We have a duplex with shared laundry and the tenants sometimes fight over it. Plus, until recently Tenant A had it crammed full of flammable solvents (there's also a gas furnace in there). He was mad at us when we made him clean it up, even though he'd practically turned the laundry room into a bomb.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Please help me solve my laundry dilemma!
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2016, 02:27:40 PM »
Option A - Turn it into a money maker with coin operated machines.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Please help me solve my laundry dilemma!
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2016, 02:31:29 PM »
I'd do a combo - of E and A

Pay utilities for the apartment that is connected to the electric/water (raise the rent an appropriate amount) and install coin operated laundry.

What kind of place is this? Are they really nice apartments or just maybe an old house that was divided? If they're really nice, I'd consider putting laundry in each unit if there is room. But if they're not so nice, the solution listed above seems good to me.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Please help me solve my laundry dilemma!
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2016, 02:58:17 PM »
How long are you going to keep the property?

B will produce the best long-term return on your investment, if you're in a location that will attract tenants that bring their own machines. An apartment with washer/dryer hookups in each unit is worth far more than shared laundry facilities. Yes, it's an up-front cost, but it gets you completely off the hook for utilities farther down the line. It's also a capital improvement that you can depreciate.

B will also increase the value of your property should you either sell or refinance it later.

The problem with A is that it makes you vulnerable to long-term changes in utility costs. You will also have maintenance problems associated with the laundry room because people take far better care of their own machines than they do of yours, especially if some tweaker decides to break into the machine and steal all the coins. You will also have to keep the laundry room locked and provide each tenant with a key, unless you want someone to informally move in there. Cleaning and maintenance of the laundry room will be up to you, and that's going to take a long-term toll on either your time or your cash flow.

Under no circumstances should you consider D unless you want the kind of tenants who are OK with leaving piles of clothing around for days or weeks at a time.

C gives you the same problems as A; the only difference is that you are paying utilities through a tenant and may accordingly have problems deducting the cost of those utilities as a business expense.


  • Stubble
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Re: Please help me solve my laundry dilemma!
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2016, 04:43:04 PM »
Also free machines can mean that you are now every tenant's families laundry mat. My building had very cheap for the neighbourhood machines and there were a couple people who having the family come over for hangouts and laundry. If you got behind them give up for the night since they would do multiple loads in all three machines.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Please help me solve my laundry dilemma!
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2016, 11:44:33 AM »
Thanks for all the great advice! I like Option A/E the best. I'll pay for all the utilities on the unit tied to the laundry room and install coin-op laundry. I live on-site for now and I haven't seen anyone abusing the laundry privileges but that could be because the tenants know I'm there. Adding coin-op reduces that risk once I move out in the next year or so. Laundry profits will get dropped into the maintenance fund.