Circling the News received several emails from residents at Casa Gateway, a moderate-income senior and family condominium complex, located on the west side of Palisades Drive at Sunset Boulevard.
One email asked, “Is it possible to have a reporter and a photographer at 501 Palisades Drive in the Courtyard tomorrow morning (July 16) at 8 a.m.?” Another person wrote, “We have a highly contested contract with a commercial laundry vendor, which is arriving at 8 a.m. to take away washers and dryers that are assets of our HOA and replace them with 18 of their machines.”
Residents explained that the company WASH, based in El Segundo, had entered into an agreement with the five-member HOA board. The 18 washers and dryers would be picked up and replaced. WASH would pay the HOA $50 for each machine.
Until the switch last week, the HOA, which owned the machines, received $1 for each wash and $1 for each dry, which went back into the homeowner’s association. The money was collected once a month by a board member and a volunteer.
Under the new agreement, the association will continue to pay for water and electricity to run the machines. WASH will repair a machine if it breaks. The cost of a load of laundry will stay the same: $1 for a wash and $1 for dryer. Cash (quarter) will be replaced by laundry cards, and residents can load money on the cards.
The contract specifies that WASH Multifamily Laundry Systems will pay 55 percent of the money they receive back to the HOA – less any applicable taxes, credit/debit card and wireless system costs and fees payable in connection with the operation of its equipment.
Even though the HOA is not allowed to enter into a multi-year contract, the wording states: “This agreement shall be renewed automatically at the end of their initial term for six successive 1-year terms.”
One resident told CTN, “They (WASH) will have zero costs. Why are they (the board) changing it? No one had any complaints.”
Eleanor Smith, president of the Casa Gateway HOA told CTN on Thursday morning, “People on the board have been collecting the coins and with Covid-19, that is dangerous.”
The board was asked if anyone in the HOA had Covid-19? Possibly a family, but one of the main reasons for making the laundry switch with WASH is that no one would “have to count the coins and take them to the bank.”
One resident pointed out, “They don’t need to count the change, they can just take it to the bank and it goes through the machine.”
Smith said, “WASH will repair the machines. They will remove and replace with a new machine. That’s part of their service.”
The HOA president noted that they had held four board meetings (electronically) to discuss the washer/dryer situation. Treasurer Lois Globnik, who has been on the board for six years, told Circling the News that the board had done a financial analysis that they sent to the members. That analysis was not shared with the press.
One of the association members said, “People are very much against it [the new service] and others very much for it. I would have voted against it.”
Another resident said he offered to collect the money and install new card holders and charge less than WASH because “We want to leave everything the way it is.”
It appears that the HOA was concerned about the Covid-19 virus staying on change, which prompted the switch.
According to the CDC, “Coronaviruses on surfaces and objects naturally die within hours to days. Warmer temperatures and exposure to sunlight will reduce the time the virus survives on surfaces and objects. Normal routine cleaning with soap and water removes germs and dirt from surfaces.”
WASH operates in other apartments in Pacific Palisades. One manager told CTN that it was a reasonable company, but if a machine broke on Friday, they often didn’t get to it until Monday. He said he had also asked them why his apartment couldn’t get newer machines, but they pointed out that recycling older machines was environmentally better.
One WASH website testimonial from Nicole Fisher, the general manager of Gardner Properties, stated: “I just think WASH’s services are phenomenal! I’m so pleased with the service! Dealing with WASH has just made it SO much easier to do my job! There’s no run-around… and the fact that I don’t get calls from my managers with complaints means I don’t have that extra stress in my job.”
This company is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau, which did give it a B rating. There were 15 customer reviews, resulting in one star (out of five), 112 complaints closed in the last three years and 46 complaints closed in the last 12 months.
Reviews and complaints can be read at https://www.bbb.org/us/ca/el-segundo/profile/coin-operated-washer-and-dryer/wash-multifamily-laundry-systems-llc-1216-32707.