Managing In-Unit Amenities Taking Care of all the Bells & Whistles

In an online forum, Sharon complains about her upstairs neighbor and begs for advice. Her neighbor had installed a washing machine in her 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.

Amenities, Amenities, Amenities

Prior to the housing collapse of 2008, condo buyers sought out brand-name, high-end appliances such as Bosch and GE Monogram. Today's buyers however are more educated than ever and they know that an expensive refrigerator or range is only as good as the unit itself. According to many brokers, buyers are even more picky, and this pickiness is due not only to the recession, but to the massive amount of litigation that have hit condos in recent years. Condo developer Shaya Boymelgreen, who built more than 2,400 units during the real estate boon ended up having to defend some 30 lawsuits from buyers complaining of poor construction.

Today's buyers are educated, well versed in these lawsuits and are now paying close attention to features like plumbing, insulation, electrical and flooring.

While having certain appliances, such as washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and trash compactors, in the units is a very attractive feature for condo or homeowner association residents, these conveniences do occasionally cause leaks, noise and vibration issues between residents, and can also create a major fire risk. There are definitely pros and cons to having in-unit amenities.

“On one hand it provides a convenience to the resident, because they don’t have to go to the common laundry room and share the machines,” says Kenneth M. Lovett, president of John B. Lovett & Associates, Ltd., a management firm in College Point. “On the other hand, these appliances can cause suds to back up in the line, cause bubbles to appear in the toilet or sink of a lower floor, and cause floods. And, for dishwashers, having them vented out of the window is just not attractive.”

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