How much is your w/d worth?
October 19, 2007 1:17 PM   Subscribe

How much is it worth to you to have a washer/dryer in your building?

All else being equal, how much cheaper would an apartment have to be to make up for not having laundry facilities in the building? There's not a laundry in the immediate neighborhood, but you do have a car (and there are plenty of laundries in the city).

I'm asking because I find myself in the awkward situation of having sublet half of my space and, halfway through the lease, losing the w/d the sublessors are using. So, assuming I can't fix that, I'm thinking of offering to reduce their rent a bit to compensate. How much is fair?
posted by hattifattener to Home & Garden (34 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This depends not on the availability of laundries in the city, but on how common it is for rental units to have in-building laundry services. If, say, 90% of rental units in your community have in-building laundry services, you're going to have to discount pretty deeply. For me personally, I'd be gone the month after you said the laundry was going away; you could keep me by giving me a deep enough discount to buy and install my own washer and dryer.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:30 PM on October 19, 2007

Were the washer and dryer available to use for free? When we did laundry in our building, our budget was nearly $50/month in quarters. For the inconvenience of not having it in the building at all? I would guess I would need to spend about 6 hours a month out of my home to do our laundry in a laundromat. So probably about $60/month less, since time is money and all. Although honestly, I don't work that cheap and I would likely avoid a living situation without convenient laundry.
posted by ferociouskitty at 1:31 PM on October 19, 2007

I don't know. It may not be the case in the city, but I see washer/dryers on craigslist all the time for less than a few hundred bucks. If it's that big of a deal, go buy one and find a friend with a truck. Plus, utilities go WAY up with a washer/dryer.
Seriously though, young folks always abandon washer/dryers when they move and you can find some really cheap deals if you look. It may be worth it just to go buy one.
posted by willie11 at 1:31 PM on October 19, 2007

Having w/d connections adds $25 to $50 a month in my area.
posted by aerotive at 1:32 PM on October 19, 2007

How much does door-to-door laundry service cost?
posted by amtho at 1:35 PM on October 19, 2007

Not sure about in Seattle, but in NYC it would be cost of the laundry service, plus time/hassle. And I would still be unhappy. I did lose use of in building laundry temporarily once (2 months) and the landlord reimbursed me for the cost of the service. But, again it was known as a temporary situation. (There is no way I would sit around in a laundry mat because the landlord didn't/wouldn't fix the laundry.)
posted by R. Mutt at 1:38 PM on October 19, 2007

What part of Seattle are you in? I didn't realize I had actual first-hand knowledge of your rental market situation...
posted by mr_roboto at 1:44 PM on October 19, 2007

$40-$50 is fair.
posted by desuetude at 1:46 PM on October 19, 2007

Free laundry is, obviously, worth more than pay-fer laundry.

I think the best thing to do is what willie11 suggests above. Get a replacement set on Craigslist and then you won't have to worry about it anymore. You could even see if the new lessors want to chip in on it.
posted by fenriq at 1:50 PM on October 19, 2007

My apartment has it as an option, $40.00.
posted by JohnR at 1:51 PM on October 19, 2007

I'd say $50 at least.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:00 PM on October 19, 2007

I would say that there is a big difference between choosing to live somewhere that doesn't have laundry in the building, and choosing to live somewhere that does have laundry - but then it suddenly gets taken away (for whatever reason). It's not just about the local cost difference in apts with laundry vs apts without laundry. Its about the time/hassle/cost to someone who chose to live with access to a laundry. If it is a current tenant, the value to that person might be large. If it is for a new tenant, with no expectation of laundry access, then yes, what ever the local value.
posted by R. Mutt at 2:04 PM on October 19, 2007

I wouldn't live in a building that didn't have a washer/dryer.
posted by chunking express at 2:06 PM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Having to go to a laundromat to do your laundry is an incredible hassle, especially the time it takes. I would move out on you unless the discount were pretty steep. Forty to sixty bucks a month isn't even close for me.
posted by caddis at 2:11 PM on October 19, 2007

I would not live in a building without laundry facilities. If the lease your tenants signed says that the building has them and you're now taking them away, you're in breach of the contract. If it doesn't, you may be legally okay, but you're putting your tenants at a huge inconvenience. Using laundromats is a huge pain, and if I were them, I'd move as soon as I possibly could. You should buy a replacement washer and dryer for them. Used on Craigslist, you should be able to do this on the cheap. Barring that, you should compensate them no less than $100 a month or 10 percent of the rent, whichever is greater.
posted by decathecting at 2:25 PM on October 19, 2007

If I was your tenant, and I had laundry that suddenly disappeared mid-lease, I'd be royally pissed. If you're not going to replace the washer/dryer (and why not?) then you should at least give the tenant the option of breaking their lease. To me (and a lot of other people), laundry is a deal-breaker. I work long hours during the week, so I'm going to spend half a day of my precious weekend, every week, in a laundromat, so matter how close it is.

You're the landlord, your tenant signed a lease knowing laundry was provided, and it's up to you to provide that service. Failing to do that is the equivalent of breaking the lease, at least IMHO.
posted by cgg at 2:27 PM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Grrr.. that should read "and I'm not going to spend half a day of my precious weekend, every week, in a laundromat, no matter how close it is." Why can't I see these on preview?
posted by cgg at 2:28 PM on October 19, 2007

It's probably going to vary wildly, but a lack of in-building laundry is a deal-breaker for me. No amount of rent reduction would be worth it. I'd consider it a lease-breaker unless you were willing to replace the washer/dryer, and even then I'd want a major reduction on the rent until the new ones arrived.
posted by Stacey at 2:35 PM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

I also would not live in a building without a washer and dryer, unless I was in financial straits and couldn't afford anything else. In fact, it's pretty much a deal-breaker if they're not in the actual apartment (i.e. shared with other tenants). But I'm fussy.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 2:45 PM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Hmm. I wouldn't have chosen to live in my apartment building if it hadn't had laundry facilities in the basement. I had my choice between living in this building and the one across the alley, both owned by the same company, both with almost identical floor plans—so I based my choice almost solely on the laundry.

As for how much it's worth to me, that depends, as mentioned above, on how close other facilities are, and how mobile I am. Right now I wouldn't care as much if laundry weren't in my building, 'cause I've since bought a car, so I can easily make it to the laundromat down the block.

Thing is, though, even a car wouldn't completely make up for losing the facilities in my building—'cause when they're in my building I feel comfortable going back upstairs and doing other things during the half-hour washing and hour drying, whereas with the laundromat, I definitely would feel the need to stay there while the laundry's going, for a couple reasons:

1. It's pointless to drive all the way over there, drive back, then drive over again half an hour later to switch machines, then maybe drive home again, then drive back in an hour when it's done drying.

2. I don't want my stuff stolen.

Thus I would have to stay there, and I just don't have the time for that right now.
posted by limeonaire at 2:47 PM on October 19, 2007

I wouldn't live in an apartment without an in-unit washer/dryer, sorry. Don't want my stuff stolen, don't want to have to sit there and wait for it, don't want to haul my dirty undies out in front of the world, even in the same building.
posted by IndigoRain at 2:50 PM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Depends on the tenant but I am personally no longer willing to live where there are no on-site laundry facilities. Been there, done that, hated it. But what's even worse is getting used to having it in your apartment and then losing it... you are definitely creating a hassle for your tenant.

I agree with the idea of getting used units on Craigslist -- once you start looking you'll see you can get these for sometimes as little as $50 and (at least in the cities I've lived in) they're posted all the time, every day.

I moved into a place without a washer hookup recently (I was inadvertently misled about it -- it does, strangely, have a dryer vent) and I got a portable washer/dryer on Craigslist for $200. It'll pay for itself in about 6 months and I can not imagine going without. But then I'm in my 30s, have served my time in laundromats, and can not imagine myself spending a day a week doing that.
posted by loiseau at 3:01 PM on October 19, 2007

(I should say, portable washer/dryer set.)
posted by loiseau at 3:02 PM on October 19, 2007

I've lived in Seattle for 17 years, and never been in a building without W/D (and a large part of the time, a W/D in the actual unit). There just aren't that many laundromats in Seattle. I'd figure in a calculation as to how far away the laundromat is, how clean or filthy it is, and how convenient its hours are.
posted by matildaben at 3:35 PM on October 19, 2007

I have to agree with some that not having it there should be grounds for breaking the lease without penalty. I don't know if you've ever used a laundromat, hatti, but it's a huge pain in the ass. I wouldn't live anywhere that didn't at least have one on-premises.

That said, I do have a price, and your tenant probably does too, but my price would be ~$200/month, which I realize makes it way cheaper to do what's necessary to get the existing unit fixed or replaced.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 4:06 PM on October 19, 2007

Response by poster: I'm looking into getting a portable w/d as well as other ideas (that's the kind of thing I'm referring to by whether I can fix the situation). Hiring a laundry service is a good idea, too. But I'm a tenant myself and so I don't have as much control over the situation as I'd like, so I'm asking this question in case I can't find a better solution to this mess.

Anyway, thanks for the numbers, people (including the "no discount would be worth the inconvenience" answers).
posted by hattifattener at 4:41 PM on October 19, 2007

Response by poster: mr_roboto: Greenlake/Maple Leaf. (I half expect someone to post saying, "Well, I'm your tenant, and I think..."). Looks like I'm out of range of the pick-up-and-deliver services in the denser neighborhoods. Bah.

(And yeah, cgg, I'm pretty pissed about this too, including at myself for letting this happen. Don't remind me.)
posted by hattifattener at 4:48 PM on October 19, 2007

hattifattener writes "Greenlake/Maple Leaf"

My old neighborhood exactly! Wow.

I was thinking that in a denser part of the city, you might be able to get away with it, but it's more diffuse up there, and the vast majority of rentals will have a w/d. You might have to throw yourself on your sublessors' mercy, and asking them this question.

Really, though, it all depends on your exact situation. Why don't you give us the numbers (their rent and yours) and a description of the sublet (shared or private bathroom/kitchen/living room space? how many bedrooms?)? Any numbers we give you are just a shot in the dark otherwise.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:28 PM on October 19, 2007

I agree with cgg - I too would be pissed. The last place I lived they were supposed to put in new w/d right after we moved in (the previous ones in the shed were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina) and it took almost 4 months for them to get around to it...I was livid. I would never live somewhere without laundry in the building. I find it a hassle to go to the basement to do it and have to adjust when I do my laundry based on when a machine is available...having to take it to a laundromat has never been an option I would consider.
posted by radioamy at 5:52 PM on October 19, 2007

I wouldn't live in an apartment that didn't have a washer/dryer.
posted by signal at 7:23 PM on October 19, 2007

my rental company tried to charge me $100 a month forever to have a w/d in my unit, and I said "no."

Now I take my stuff to fluff and fold at a drycleaner, and it's great. $18 tops per trip, and it's all done for me, no fuss, no muss.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:29 PM on October 19, 2007

The amount of increase that's normally charge for one is $40-50, but personally I would find it to be a massive inconvenience not to have one. Put bluntly, I wouldn't live in a place that didn't have one, and if I was in a place that specified in the contract that I had a washer/dryer, and it suddenly disappeared, I'd want either a tremendous rent decrease, or I'd want out of the lease.

$40-50 may be the going rate for having one, but several hours of my time a week spent sitting around a laundromat is worth way more than that.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:01 PM on October 19, 2007

Probably a dealbreaker for me. I'd need at least 20-25% off the rent even to consider it.
posted by smorange at 8:37 AM on October 20, 2007

dealbreaker for me too. especially since there aren't any in the neighborhood. and i'm never again living in an apartment that doesn't have one in my unit.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 5:43 PM on October 20, 2007

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