Wasn't sure exactly where to post this question but this seemed semi-relevant here so here we go!
Got my first deal and am house hacking a duplex. It's an up-down with 2/1 units and a shared side stairwell to a shared basement. There are already hookups for laundry and I would much rather have laundry in home instead of hitting the laundromat once a week or more.
So the question is: What is the best way to go about having a normal washer and dryer in a shared area? Concerns about the tenant using it without approval arise and as much as I'd like to assume the best - I just wouldn't feel comfortable providing free use of my machines.
Coin-operated was a thought but a thankful restriction we have is we're getting traditional style for the washer and dryer because a relative is purchasing them as a house-warming gift. Past that there is no door to the basement itself just the stairwell that the tenant has access too.
I thought about approaching the tenant with an offer of so much money per month just to use the machines but then I also thought of what to do if they deny that offer and then I'm still worried about unapproved usage.
Any thoughts ideas or insights on anything mentioned is more than welcome!
What kind of approval exactly is needed? If it's a shared space then you the landlord responsible for the maintenance of it. Adjust the rents accordingly, seems silly to go coin op because that's more hassle then it's worth and would effect you.
Are the breakers that control these outlets only accessible to you? If so you can just keep these breakers off except when you want to use them.
If they approach you and ask to use them you could say yes for xx dollars per month due the the increased utility costs and extra wear and tear on the machines.
You could also have an electrician wire in a local box that feeds power to these that has a lock on the box with breakers that can be turned off when your not using them.
@Matt K. approval in the way of allowing the tenant to use my personal property that has no other place but in a shared space. I hadn't thought of it in the way you might've meant as far as me improving the shared space to adjust rents accordingly. It would make sense if there are more amenities available for her that it justifies a higher rent.
From there then I'd be curious how I could restructure. Could we just sign a separate agreement stating $x/mo for use of the machines? Would I have to put it in the lease that $x/mo is for the available machines?
@John Underwood no both units boxes are in the basement so the tenant could access them. I definitely would prefer just to come to an agreement with them to use if for a monthly fee for the reasons you mentioned. I guess my mind can't help but wonder what if they deny the offer.
We don't have the washer and dryer yet so maybe I should just have a chat with the tenant to see if they'd be interested beforehand.
@Nicholas Richard Ray so two thoughts, again don't know your space so not sure if this works....
A) Can you secure access to this space and thus not allow them entry? Could this be solved by simply adding a lock to a door or something similar?
B) Can this space be divided up and maybe you could provide a storage area in the basement along with the access to washer or dryer?
But I'm curious, how was this set up prior to you moving in? Was there a shared washer/dryer in this common space? If so what's the lease say about this, is a washer/dryer included? I'm curious how access is an issue now, but not previously.
@Matt K. essentially my unit upstairs and theirs downstairs has a lockable door to a stairwell in the side of the house. There unfortunately isn't another door to the basement itself so i cannot secure access to it currently. I have thought about installing a door just for that reason, however, the cramped space the bottom of the stairs is in might make that difficult.
Separating a space seems like it could have some traction. Once you get to the bottom of the stairs it's just an open area with the washer/dryer hookups on the far wall. The water heaters and furnaces are in this open area as well. Going to the back area there are two separate rooms that have the old boilers that were never removed, so if I get those out of there that's two areas that can be used and locked. Then I could provide one for the tenant and they could just get a padlock to secure it.
Prior to purchasing and moving in the top unit it's my understanding that the company that owned it did not provide laundry machines but the hookups are there if the tenants had their own machines. So no help from the prior setup unfortunately.
The basement is fairly spacious so there is decent room around the hookups and where the machines would sit, I'm starting to wonder if I might be able to build or put something around where they sit just to secure it.
@Nicholas Richard Ray I would just ask the tenants if they're interested. If they say no, I like what someone else mentioned about having an electrician wire up a switch and have a cover and lock over it that you have the key to. That seems like the easiest, most cost efficient way to handle your situation.
@Grant Rothenburger yeah that was suggest by @John Underwood and I totally forgot to mention that in my reply earlier. A good suggestion as well something that I'd likely be able to do myself or with a little help from my dad. Probably one of the cheapest and safest options as well.
I appreciate all the feedback guys, honestly.
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