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.