New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



Illegal Laundry Rooms

Rules about laundry rooms have been on the books for decades for things like sprinklers, ventilation and drains, but it’s only recently that the Department of Buildings began enforcing them. With that in mind, we got called in to a large Mitchell-Lama co-op in Upper Manhattan that wanted us to modernize its two laundry rooms. We met with the board and the manager several times, submitted a proposal, and then they gave us the green light. Right then, along came a thing called COVID.

Delay after delay. With the pandemic, new installations were not a priority. That sort of thing had to be tabled. As the situation eased, we ran into a supply chain issue like every other industry. Suddenly it was taking us months on end to get drying units. The equipment finally arrived, but the laundry-room company we were replacing at this co-op was a very large company, and although it knew it had lost this client, it wanted to keep as many of its machines on the books as possible until year-end. So it was reluctant to remove its machinery.

Moving ahead. Once the year was up, the board made a smart, proactive move to upgrade its laundry rooms. The management company, Metro Management, which handles a lot of Mitchell-Lama co-ops, realized that eventually it had to bring these illegal laundry rooms up to Department of Buildings standards. As long as the board was giving these rooms a face-lift, it figured it might as well do things properly and install the proper equipment.

An architect and engineer had to come in and draw up plans and file them, and that was another thing that slowed down the process. They know how to navigate the system, but it still takes time. They have to file plans with the Department of Buildings and then they have to wait for a building inspector to come to the property before things can finally get up and running. 

Above and beyond. This job was not the norm — the wheels and the gears usually move more easily. This was just a combination of obstacle after obstacle. So it took a while, but it’s happening. It’s working — thanks to patience and perseverance.

Subscriber Login

Ask the Experts

learn more

Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments

Professionals in some of the key fields of co-op and condo board governance and building management answer common questions in their areas of expertise

Source Guide

see the guide

Looking for a vendor?