Q In our Queens co-op (containing 68 apartments) we do not allow laundry washing machines. A few owners have had them from years back, others have recently renovated and installed washing machines in their apartments.
This causes unacceptable foaming and backed up pipes in units above and below and bad bleach and chemical odors. The actions we have taken so far have not produced the result of getting them removed. So far we have sent a letter from the Board of Directors, instituted a $500 fine per apartment, and added this to the owners’ maintenance bills. We also have sent the management company in to apartments to report back to us.
Subsequently, these owners tell us that they do not use their washing machines. What can we do to have these owners remove this violation? Or can the Board of Directors go in and remove it?
—Washed Out in Queens
“Unless emergency or exigent circumstances exist, most governing documents and New York law prohibit the entrance of a shareholder’s unit without permission or a court order. At the same time, most cooperatives’ governing documents require a shareholder to provide reasonable access to inspect a unit and you can enforce the right to obtain access in court or through fines as well.
“However, if the occupier is not a shareholder-owner but is a rent-regulated tenant who moved into the unit with the washing machine, he or she would likely have the right to keep the washing machine—as long as it didn’t cause a nuisance to other owners or tenants in the building.”