Managing In-Unit Amenities Taking Care of All the Bells & Whistles

 In an online forum, Sharon complains about her upstairs neighbor and begs for  advice. It seems that her neighbor had installed a washing machine in the unit,  even though there was one already downstairs for the residents of her six-unit  building to use. As a result of the neighbor’s improper installation, her appliance overflowed, resulting in a flood of water  that came pouring into Sharon’s unit through heating and air vents. Now, Sharon’s wall-to-wall carpeting is ruined and she’s concerned about mold and other damage.  

 This is not an uncommon occurrence, here at The Chicagoland Cooperator we receive numerous letters and e-mails from readers who are in the same  situation as Sharon. In-unit amenities, such as appliances, are a hot ticket  item. Unit owners will not be deterred in their quest to have the appliances  that their neighbors have, regardless of how professionally or unprofessionally  they are installed. Additionally, in this economic climate, where developers  and sellers are looking for any hook that might lure a potential buyer, in-unit  amenities have become a promotional tool to perhaps sell vacant units.  

 New vs. Old Building

 Units in older buildings were never designed to handle washers, dryers, trash  compactors or dishwashers. However, in order to sell units, many developers,  and unit owners themselves, are retrofitting kitchens and closets to accommodate these appliances. This can lead to major  problems since the infrastructure of older buildings just can't handle the  additional workload.  

 In the case of new construction, many developers are cutting economic corners to  provide these amenities. The use of cheap material, shoddy construction and  lack of insulation may lead to headaches and litigation later on. The rule “caveat emptor,” more commonly known as “buyer beware” applies. Potential buyers are encouraged to test in-unit appliances to ensure  that they are functioning properly and look for clues that their neighbor’s appliances may not be working as they should.  

 Amenities, Amenities, Amenities

 Certain appliances, such as washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and trash  compactors, are very attractive features for a condo or homeowners association  residents although many of the older buildings still have a central laundry  room. “Obviously, the newer anything built from 1990 to year-to-date would most likely  have in-unit connections,” says Chris Bowling, who is the Midwest district sales manager of Mac-Gray  Intelligent Laundry Systems.  

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