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How do we stop a non-resident who sneaks into our basement to do their laundry?

  • You should alert your property manager and your board and let them handle the situation
  • The person may the offspring or guest of a owner, so it’s best not to take action yourself
Celia Young Headshot
By Celia Young  |
May 6, 2024 - 11:30AM
Laundry room of an apartment house in the basement with some washers in a row stock photo

Your board may have existing house rules about a co-op owner's guest using the laundry facilities.


Our co-op building has a basement laundry room and I've observed someone who doesn't live here using our laundry machines. What should we do?

It’s best to let your board or property manager handle this so-called “laundry sneak,” according to our experts.

Essentially what your co-op is facing is a “building security issue,” said Tracy Peterson, a condo and co-op attorney at Braverman and Greenspun. Someone you suspect doesn’t live there is accessing the building when they shouldn’t be able to.

“Nobody should be entering the property who doesn't have a reason to be there, whether it’s using the laundry room, or hanging out in the lobby,” Peterson said. 

Your property manager would be able to handle the issue by letting your doorman (if you have one) know about the situation, or changing the existing lock or code on your laundry room’s door, said Andrew Freedland, a partner at law firm Herrick Feinstein. 

Freedland recommends emailing your property manager with your concerns and copying your board on that email so they are aware of the situation. Your board can always decide to invest in security cameras or install new locks as well, and can instruct your managing agent to find a vendor, Peterson said.

Outside of those actions, there’s not much you can (or should) do. If you live in a large co-op building, it’s possible that this is a neighbor you haven’t met yet, or a guest or child of one of the other residents. 

“I wouldn’t want you to confront the person because you never know what can happen…And if it just turns out to be somebody that it is unknown but does have a right to be there, then that’s a whole other story,” Freedland said. “You have to be careful.”

If it is a guest, your board may have existing house rules about guests using the laundry facilities, Peterson said. Some buildings assign certain days of the week to certain units to use the laundry facilities to keep enough washers and dryers open for residents, Peterson added. 

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Celia Young Headshot

Celia Young

Senior Writer

Celia Young is a senior writer at Brick Underground where she covers New York City residential real estate. She graduated from Brandeis University and previously covered local business at the Milwaukee Business Journal, entertainment at Madison Magazine, and commercial real estate at Commercial Observer. She currently resides in Brooklyn.

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