Forget fame or fortune. If there’s one thing New Yorkers want more than anything else, it’s an apartment washer and dryer. And the pandemic certainly made in-unit laundry one of the most coveted amenities in NYC. It’s coupled with the fact that many building policies have changed to allow washer and dryer installation. So, demand is strong. “Technology has changed, allowing more buildings to approve apartment washers and dryers,” says Stacey Froelich, a top New York City broker with Compass. “And there is more condo inventory with apartment washers and dryers now. Therefore buyers are more likely to expect them in the current market.” No matter the reason for the apartment washer and dyer wish, many people are interested in having this luxury. So, here are your burning in-unit laundry questions answered.

Table of Contents

    Manhattan Rentals Under $3000 on StreetEasy Article continues below

    Do Many NYC Apartments Have In-Unit Laundry?

    On StreetEasy, there are currently more than 3,800 rentals available in New York City with in-unit laundry. That’s more than 27% of all rentals available. Of the 18,500 apartments listed for sale on the website, about 7,300, or about 39%, have in-unit laundry. So, while most units available don’t have apartment washers and dryers, over a quarter do. That means if that’s a top priority amenity for you, there are lots of options. 

    Stackable and one-piece apartment washers and dryers make in-unit laundry even more feasible, especially in new-construction buildings. Traditional side-by-side units can be 56 inches wide, taking up a big chunk of valuable floor space. Stackable units are small enough to fit in a closet, occupying a much smaller footprint and making them easier to tuck away out of view.

    There’s a good reason why demand is increasing. “If you can add a washer and dryer to an apartment, a seven to ten percent increase in rent or sale is not out of the question,” said Bill Kowalczuk, a broker at Warburg Realty. Not to mention, it’s life-changing. “It gives the owner flexibility, privacy, and most importantly, saves time,” said Froelich. 

    Are Apartment Washer and Dryers Better?

    Brooklyn Rentals Under $3000 on StreetEasy Article continues below

    Brooklyn resident Susanne Eleazer told StreetEasy why she thinks the answer is yes. “My first apartment in New York was a walk-up railroad in Greenpoint, Brooklyn,” she said. “I loved it, but in terms of laundry, I had to walk about 12 blocks to the nearest laundromat. Dropping off could be a good thing because someone does it for you, but you have to work around their hours, and things often come back in a questionable state. There were pick-up and delivery options, too, but they were expensive.”

    These days, her 3-bedroom Prospect Heights pad has an apartment washer and dryer, which she describes as “heavenly.” “It was something I’d always wanted — especially once I had a kid,” Eleazer said. “Things happen that need immediate attention. I can’t imagine asking someone else to clean some of the baby situations or waiting to deal with them at a laundromat.”

    Even if your building has a laundry room, it’s still a luxury to have an apartment washer and dryer. “It just provides the ultimate flexibility,” Greenwich Village resident Juliet Izon told StreetEasy. “I’ve experienced in-building and in-unit laundry, and while both certainly beat having to lug my clothes to the laundromat, there’s nothing better than being able to toss in a load whenever you want. And laundry never seems to build up when you have an apartment washer and dryer.” 

    But obviously, New Yorkers of old all used to buck up and walk to the laundromat. Are we just less tough now? “We are all moving so much quicker now,” said Froelich. “Everything that saves time adds value today. New Yorkers are still tough — but we are busy!”

    Can I Install a Washer and Dryer Myself?

    Queens Rentals Under $3000 on StreetEasy Article continues below

    Unfortunately, there is no one answer to this question. Each building has its own policy on apartment washers and dryers.

    “If your building does not permit them in-unit, then no, you cannot install them yourself,” said Froelich. “If your building does permit them, then you have to hire a licensed plumber and ensure they are installed with proper waterproofing, and according to the guidelines set forth by the building.” 

    Even if you feasibly have the space and hook for an apartment washer and dryer, some landlords forbid it. This might have to do with the age of the building: “Landlords prohibit in-unit machines because they have concerns about the building’s plumbing and electric capacity,” said Froelich. “The age and size of the pipes must be evaluated, as does the electric load to the individual units, because ventless dryers, which are common in-unit, run on electricity and not gas.”

    Can I Install a Portable Washer?

    Bronx Rentals Under $3000 on StreetEasy Article continues below

    Portable washers and dryers can seem like godsends to city dwellers, as some only need an outlet, faucet, and access to a sink or tub (for draining) to operate. But the same rules apply: If building policy does not permit apartment washers and dryers, according to Froelich, then no unit will be allowed, portable or not. Some leases specifically ban portable washing machines. “Approval by the board or managing agent is always required,” she said. 

    What if you bend the rules and install a laundry machine even though it’s not allowed? Well, if there’s a flood or fire, you could be on the hook for paying thousands of dollars to your neighbors and landlord for damage.

    Why Are Some NYC-Apartment Washers in the Kitchen?

    Staten Island Rentals Under $3000 on StreetEasy Article continues below

    There’s one main reason you’ll find many NYC washers in the kitchen or bathroom rather than tucked away in its own space. It’s simple mechanics: Washing machines need a plumbing system, so they need to go in an area that’s already hooked up to one. Most city apartment buildings have strict “wet over dry” policies, which means any appliance that uses water must be in the kitchen or the bathroom.

    Looking to buy, sell, or rent in NYC?

    Get Started with StreetEasy