Have you ever lived in a building with pay laundry?
I have and it’s not fun. You always have to have lots of change around and you can’t leave because I literally had people removing my clothes from a dryer and putting their items in. (That’s a story for another day.)
But one Burnaby building ended up removing its washers and dryers because tenants kept breaking into them and stealing the quarters out of them, one landlord told me.
“A few bad apples really do spoil it for everyone else,” the landlord told me after reading my recent columns about fights over laundry services. “We’re not going to offer it for free and we’re not putting up with the constant theft so now our tenants have to take their laundry out of the building and wash it somewhere else. It’s too bad that some people couldn’t stop stealing. It cost a lot to get these machines fixed.”
Another tenant told me about her building doing something similar happening, with more people abusing the system.
“We recently got new washers and dryers that are free for tenants to use. We used to pay for the washers and dryers, but then people were breaking into them and stealing the quarters. They broke down about a year ago, with the spinners breaking in the washing machines and no heat in the dryers. We were just told by management and staff to keep using them and that they weren't getting repaired. So, for about a year are clothes we're not getting properly spun out in the washers (dirt stays in the clothing when there's no spinning action) nor were they getting properly dried and sanitized with hot air in the dryers. Because it was only cool heat or cool air. Consequently, many of us tenants had to wear stinky clothes and use stinky dirty towels. We all had to throw out a lot of clothes and a lot of towels.”
This is a rent-subsidized building, I was told.
“What’s happening now is people who have just gotten off the streets seem to be letting their street friends come in and do their six bags of laundry for free, and that puts undue wear and tear on the machines. Even the long-term tenants are letting friends and family bring all their laundry so they can do it for free now.
I personally feel that it's actually a privilege and a gift to have a free washer and dryer because we had to put up with broken-down ones leading to not being able to having any clean sanitary clothing for a good year. I understand from both points of view what's going on here.”
Sometimes people just can't have nice things.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.