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

 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.  

 “It gives you more access to them when it is more convenient, so it is more  personalized access. “If it is in your unit, it is solely for you, so you have greater control over  the amenity,” says Stephen DiNocco, AMS, a principal at Affinity Realty & Property Management in Boston. “It gives you more access to them when it is more convenient. On the other hand,  if you have the amenities in your unit, then you are responsible for the total  cost of installation and maintenance and upkeep and that is the drawback. Let’s say that you have exercise equipment in your house, it is going to take up  space and you are going to have to maintain the cost of that. Really, you might  only use it for an hour a day. But running down to the clubhouse or fitness  center is less cost to yourself.”  

 Improper installation and misuse of these amenities may also cause damage to the  individual unit as well as neighbors’ units.  

 “Water and mold are huge problems,” says attorney Cameron C. Pease of the law firm of Goldman & Pease in Needham, Massachusetts. “Let's say you're on the third floor and you have a washer that overflows. It  doesn’t just affect your unit, it affects the next unit and the units below. Same with  mold, it may start with your unit, then grows to common areas and other units.  Other issues are noise and cost; some residents might have a loud appliance  that is making a racket. And if you have shared utilities and you have one  person that is washing clothes all the time, that will run the utility bill,” he says.  

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