Installing Washer/Dryers in Your NYC Apartment
The dos and don’ts
Washers and dryers in New York City are status symbols. Only about 20% of apartments have the hookups necessary to install washer and dryer units and those that have them should consider themselves lucky. But why do so few buildings allow residents to install washers and dryers? The waste piping systems in many older buildings can be too small or too packed with sediment. The result is that soap and water will backup and affect your neighbors. This presents a high risk that your building likely doesn’t want to take. Yes, there is some logic to it, it’s not just to punish you or keep you in shape!
If you’re renting, your lease will probably specify pretty clearly whether or not you can install a washer/dryer. The first clue will be if you have the hookups for them. If you have the hookups, congratulations! You can stop reading here and go buy yourself a washer/dryer! (Or keep on for a minute and we’ll tell you where to put it…)
If you don’t have the hookups, well, keep reading…
Not having the hookups, as a renter, is pretty dismal. You can triple check your lease and call up your landlord, and maybe he’ll say yes, but if he doesn’t that’s kind of the end of the road.
Unless… You want to go illegal on this. If you don’t care what your landlord will think or you think you can get away with it, there are some more options for you. Beware: you will be breaking an important clause in your lease, you could be evicted, and if there is a flood due to your machine or a fire from the dryer, you will be responsible for the damages. Going rogue is not suggested in almost any circumstance and it could cost you a fortune.
“The core problem with washer-dryer units is that the flow of water often overwhelms the limiting plumbing capacity of older buildings,” says Dean M. Roberts, a real estate attorney with Norris McLaughlin & Marcus in Manhattan. These overflows can lead to the discovery of your machine, especially if it leaks into the apartment below you. Some good news: “ You probably won’t be evicted unless you refuse to give up the machine, says Goidel.
“The fact that several other tenants may have a washer/dryer can’t in and of itself justify acquiring similar equipment,” he says. “Perhaps the landlord is unaware or perhaps the tenants are rent-regulated and their leases allow it.”
At the end of the day, there are easier ways to get your laundry done than by risking thousands of dollars and doing your laundry in the dark of night. If you don’t have the hookups, look into some pickup and delivery services or haul those heavy bags down to the laundromat and bring something fantastic to read.