How To Protect Your Investment in Your Property's Community Laundry Area
Irresponsible tenants can take a toll on a multi-housing laundry room. Chances are, most of your residents will be great...but there's always those bad eggs in the bunch that cause nothing but problems. We've heard our fair share of horror stories resulting in costly problems and legal issues for landlords and property managers. In order to keep your residents, your property, and your laundry equipment investment safe, it's important to make safety and security a priority. We've put together a handy guide to help property managers/landlords protect their investment and hold residents accountable.
Step #1 - Clean up the space
It may seem simple, but a clean space is the first step to protecting your investment. Due to other obligations, property managers and landlords often don't take the time to keep common areas looking tidy and nice. However, a clean laundry room is crucial to the safety of your residents and your property. Here's why:
- Dust, dirt, detergent residue, and debris can get inside your laundry equipment and cause corrosion and other damage.
- If not kept in check, lint and dust can also be a potential fire risk. In fact, more than 2,900 dryer fires are reported each year, causing more than $35 million in property loss and 100+ injuries, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
- It's easier to spot damage, potential safety hazards, and other laundry maintenance issues when the laundry area is clean and organized.
- A clean space shows you take pride in your building, which naturally promotes respect and cleanliness among residents.
Step #2 - Fix & adjust lighting
We've seen our fair share of laundry areas that are in basements and tucked away areas where the lighting isn't great. With the extensive responsibilities of property owners and landlords , replacing burned out lightbulbs often falls low on the list of priorities l. Don't let it! Take a few minutes to make sure your laundry area is bright and all the lights are working — especially if the community laundry area is in a place without a lot of natural light. It's not a difficult or expensive task, and improving the lighting in the shared laundry area can improve safety.
- Good lighting makes it easier to see safety and maintenance issues with your equipment. The sooner you identify issues, the sooner you can fix them before they turn into major problems.
- Residents need adequate light to see and navigate around the laundry room. Without it, they may trip and/or accidentally damage the equipment. That's a lawsuit or expensive repair waiting to happen.
- Spaces that are well-lit are much less likely to be a target of vandalism or theft, according to the Urban Institute.
Step #3 - Post signs
After you've cleaned up the space and improved the lighting, post rules and safety-related signs around the laundry room. Many laundry room incidents happen because people are unaware or not paying attention. Signage is a visual reminder of how residents are expected to act in the space and shows you're keeping an eye on things. Potential signs you may want to display to help protect your residents, property, and laundry equipment include:
- Emergency contact information for you and local authorities (police, fire department, poison control)
- Reminder not to climb in or around the machine
- Reminder not to overload machines or overuse detergent to avoid damage to the machines
- Reminder to clean the lint tray to prevent fires
- A notice that the area is being monitored with cameras (see #5)
- A notice that the laundry room is for residents only (see #4)
Step #4 - Install locks on the doors
Once you've gone through all the basic and relatively easy precautions, the next step is to make sure the laundry room is only being used by the people who are paying to use it. We recommend making your laundry room for residents only — especially if you don't have a secured entrance into the building itself. Secured entrances and resident-only laundry rooms help reduce potential vandalism and theft from non-residents and makes it easier to monitor.. Utilizing a card swiping system or providing keys to each resident is a fairly inexpensive investment that can substantially increase the security and safety of your laundry room.
Step #5 - Install security cameras
If problems continue to persist in the shared laundry area, the next step would be to install security cameras in the space. Thanks to Bluetooth and WiFi, it's easier than ever to monitor your property from anywhere right on your smartphone, computer, or tablet. Security cameras are helpful for a number of reasons:
- Knowing the area is being monitored helps deter potential theft and vandalism.
- Images and photos will be useful in the event of an incident where law enforcement and/or insurance companies are involved.
Step #6 - Document everything & stay organized
Last, but certainly not least, track and monitor everything you can. The more data you have, the easier and more efficiently you can protect your laundry equipment and property investment. A few things you should be tracking and documenting include:
- Reports of any injuries or incidents that happen in the laundry room or other public areas of your property.
- All your equipment's maintenance records.
- Photos and videos taken in public areas around your apartment complex.
- Your laundry equipment's performance. For example, Speed Queen Insights and Quantum Controls can alert you to issues such as leaks and allow you to see first-hand how machines are performing. This can help alert you to errors and maintenance issues before they become safety risks or costly problems.
You can use the collected data to monitor your apartment complex and be aware of potential risks without needing to be on-site 24/7.
If you have other questions regarding your multi-housing laundry room, the experts at Martin-Ray Laundry Systems would love to help. We service apartments, condominiums, and other multi-housing facilities around Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, west Texas and western Nebraska. Contact us today to learn more.