Value and expenses of in unit laundry

8 Replies

I'm renovating a triplex. In the process of interviewing contractors, one of them brought up the idea of putting laundry machines in the units. The alternatives are putting pay machines in the basement, or not providing anything. There are no laundromats in the immediate area, so not providing anything may be a problem for the tenants.

With the pay machines, the value is obvious (what you collect), however units in the apartments will likely be a good lever to get somewhat higher rents. I also tend to think the pay machines will be sturdier. For the in unit machines, beside the standard stackable conventional units, I'm thinking about single unit combo washer/driers (space saving, easier installation, and probably cheaper.) Again, I don't know how sturdy they are.

Does anyone have any experience with this. How does laundry affect rents (up the scale from nothing, to coin-op, to in-unit)?

Look to see what nearby comps are offering, and try to match them. Don't try to go way over and above what neighboring rentals have.

With that said, the pro with in unit machines is that it's attractive to prospective tenants. The cons include higher water usage (tenants will run loads more frequently because they don't have to pay for each load) and maintenance on the machines. The second con can be removed if you simply provide hook ups without providing machines.

The pro for pay machines is the extra income and (hopefully) reduced maintenance since it's just one of each machine instead of three. The con is some people don't want to use pay machines.

We own a triplex with hook ups, and the tenants provide their own machines. With that said, we'd prefer pay machines, but this triplex is just not set up to accommodate that. Our fourplexes in AZ have pay machines.


Thanks for replying. Where you have pay machines, did you buy your own machines and service them yourself, or do you rent the space to a laundry company?

We bought new machines and service them ourselves. Laundry companies, from what I hear, are pretty universally crooked. The guy collecting the quarters will take some, then the guy who gets them will take some, and they'll under-report your total in coins they collected, and they may even refuse to accept your notice of intent to not renew their lease on your laundry room in order to force you to stay with them. My parents have dealt with a couple companies (bought properties with existing laundry agreements) and hate them, which is why my husband and I have bought our own. I've heard of these same issues from other landlords as well.

Michael If you are a multiple floor property Washers in

the units can be attractive to prospects- but a

" nightmare" for residents. The use/misuse ,

off hour operation, and water damage from

spills,back-ups,etc, can become a real headache!

Complaints about noise,leaks and breakdowns,

One tenant on another,requests for maintenance,

etc. sure to follow.

The common wash area is a good feature. Just

make sure it is safe,secure , and well lit. If you

buy the machines you will have to figure cost

of some regular oversight. The profit potential

wouldn't be great in a triplex so you might want

to adjust rents slightly to cover added costs .

. Establish" Rules for Use." and "Residents Only"


Our 8-plex has a coin-op laundry. We own the machines and pay for the water, natural gas hot water heater, and electricity. Machine maintenance costs have been minimal, even with old machines. The machines are set at $1.00 each (below what a local laundromat would charge); we've looked into raising the amount, but apparently the cost to do so would outweigh the benefit. The low cost to tenants is a selling point when showing the properties, for people who are used to coin-op laundries. Our little laundry is basically a break-even situation and it doesn't lose money; sometimes it even makes a little.

Pros: Concrete floor with a drain in the middle, so if the washer leaks or hot water heater leaks then the water safely goes down the drain, no damage. The room is a central spot where we can post information when necessary. The electricity for this room is paid by us, so we can run our decorative holiday lights off that panel, or electric tools. We can avoid the significant expense of adding w/d to the units. Good for tenants with little possessions who don't want to be bothered with a w/d. There is a utility sink there and a laundry folding shelf, so this little room is a place I can go to wash my hands or sign contractor paperwork when I am at the property.

Cons: In our rental market prospective tenants like to have w/d in the unit or at least w/d hookups, so it reduces the pool of interested prospective tenants. Some tenants don't like sharing machines with others. Occasionally when a tenant doesn't follow the laundry room rules, it annoys others and I have to follow-up. The laundry is adjacent to one of the units and the shared wall is next to one of the bedrooms and some of the noise travels, so this requires establishing operating hours. I or my assistant must tidy up the laundry at least once weekly.

Originally posted by @Michael Wolffs :

I'm thinking about single unit combo washer/driers (space saving, easier installation, and probably cheaper.)

I just got rid of two of these from a previous owner (there is/was room for stackers). I thought about replacing with the same, but after looking at quite a few, I couldn't find anything comparable to separate units for any cheaper. You can get a tiny combo unit for around $1200, but you better be prepared for tenants to complain about the REALLY long dry times and capacity issues. I'd avoid the combo machines if you plan to provide W/D!

@Michael Wolffs

We have removed common laundry facilities in all buildings with <=6 units in favour of en suite laundry.

The only two negative facts we encountered are:

1) As noted by @Kimberly T., water usage will increase as a result of laundry both being non-coin and the convenience of it being in their own unit. As part of our energy/resource efficiency mantra, we have been running a parallel set of projects to implement water sub-metering in our properties.

2) the need to purchase more laundry units than would be required with common laundry. This is partially offset by the fact we are now purchasing less expensive non-commercial equipment and by the fact we are seeing less damage to machines when they are in the tenants unit ... and, when there is damage, we know who is accountable.

@Marcia Maynard

We install catch pans and drains with all our en suite laundry units.

@Michael Wolffs I think you can get the most "bank for you buck" by simply providing W/D hookups in each apartment. Attractive and much more passive as far as maintenance issues etc are concerned. But you still have the W/D in the unit which could lead to lower turn over as the units are more capable of providing long term tenants, due to it be so much more livable.

But that is for the ideally solid middle class and above type of units. So as always, it's market dependent, is a big part of the answer.

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