I'm looking at apartments and noticed that many offer amenities such as gyms, pools, saunas and hot tubs which are "free" to use by tenants (paid for by the condo fees). However, I noticed that while most of them also have laundry rooms, tenants must pay to use the machines (at the machine, on a per-wash basis).
The washing machines are an outlier in the sense that they are the only facility on the premises that cost extra to use; everything else (tennis court, barbecues, pool and gym) is free.
Why is it that washing machines seem to be treated differently?
I thought about it for a bit, here are a few of my hypotheses so far (but I don't have data to support any of it):
I can't imagine that washing machines cost much more to operate than a pool, gym, tennis court or sauna - maybe I'm wrong - but considering that the aforementioned are all included I don't think the landlords left the machines out of the included amenities because it would have been too expensive to include them. (Or too expensive to include them instead of some of the other aforementioned amenities)
Clearly, "because they can" is true, if they can make money off the machine they'll opt to do so, but they also could save money by not having a pool and gym to maintain yet they do it because they seem like good incentives to live there. Are the machines not included simply because they aren't very convincing incentives for potential customers? Either because
- people underestimate the cost to use the machines (therefore would not see free use as a big incentive)
- it's the norm here (North America) for machines to require payment for use and since it's not a "sexy" topic of conversation the laundry rooms are simply left out of sales discussions (making it hard to advertise it as an incentive). A landlord wouldn't gain much by giving the customer more than they expected in this case, so they don't.
I'm asking because, personally, I'd rather have free use of those machines than free access to a pool and sauna I'd never use and I'm wondering why no one seems to offer free washing machines for tenants.