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The Dirty Little Secret in the Basement: Your Building's Laundry Room


When moving to a new apartment, one of the things you’ll want to know is whether there’s a laundry room in the building. However, most buildings have dirty little secrets in their basements. It’s estimated that up to 50% of residential apartments have illegal laundry rooms.

How Can Washing Machines Be Illegal?

If most buildings have illegal laundry rooms, it begs the question, how can washing machines and dryers be illegal?

Well, most building owners install washing machines, dryers, and other laundry equipment in empty rooms. This is done in total contravention of the law since the owners don’t install the requisite safety features alongside the washers and dryers.

Without the necessary safety equipment, the laundry rooms in your building can cause serious problems such as fire and flooding. Dryers and washing machines use gas, which can easily ignite. Furthermore, washing machines use a lot of water and thus come with the risk of flooding. In case your building’s Certificate of Occupation doesn’t allow the installation of laundry equipment, fixing the issue requires extensive renovations.

For building owners, this is a bureaucratic nightmare that may take at least one year to resolve. The Department of Buildings recommends that building owners should ensure their laundry facilities are not only permitted but also up to code. If a building has a certificate of occupancy, it’s best to start by checking whether the installation of a laundry room is permitted.

Although inspections by the Department of Buildings are rare, they happen sometimes. If the inspectors discover that the laundry rooms in your building are illegal, they will have them shut down immediately. Indeed, this will be an inconvenience to residents.

What If Your Laundry Room is Illegal?

There’s no need to worry if your building’s laundry room is illegal. Thanks to the wash, dry, and fold services offered by professional launderers, you can have your garments cleaned and delivered to your address. These services are affordable and also save you the trouble of shuttling back and forth between your apartment and the basement on laundry days.

The washing machines and dryers on most buildings are often old and poorly maintained. When you let professionals handle your laundry, you also won’t worry about your items getting damaged by faulty washing machines. Laundry services also save you the trouble of finding the appropriate detergents and other cleaning products.