Smart Cycles
Waltham, Mass.-based multifamily laundry and facilities management services firm Mac-Gray put an “e” in laundry last month with the firm’s introduction of its Internet-based Change Point payment and monitoring system. Used in conjunction with Mac-Gray’s LaundryView system, Change Point gives residents the ability to pay for each wash or dry cycle with a debit card or credit card, allows residents to check the availability of washers and dryers before going to the laundry room, and then shoots a text message to their smart phone as soon as their laundry is done. Back-end reporting will give you more data on your resident’s dirty laundry then you could ever fathom, including live reporting when a cycle is purchased, remote detection of malfunctions, and automatic dispatch of service technicians. Transaction reports and a comprehensive service history for machines are updated daily and made available to the owner or manager of the property through Mac-Gray’s client extranet.

No Butts About It
Leave it to the ultra-progressive Swedes to take apartment smoking bans to a whole new level. Frustrated by some of its residents’ inability to kick the habit despite a community-wide ban on lighting up (including in apartments, on balconies, and in common areas), Swedish property management firm Mitthem is encouraging other residents to keep tabs on their neighbors and report on other residents who puff away in defiance of their lease. The reward for info leading to a successful cig-arrest isn’t anything to cough at either: 5,000 kronor ($740) to residents that pitch in on the put-out, according to an official statement released by Mitthem CEO Hans Selling. A tenants rights group has slammed the cash-for-ash program. “The whole concept is wrongheaded from the start,” Niclas Sundell, general counsel for the northern region of the Swedish Union of Tenants tells The Local: Sweden’s News in English. “If someone testifies against you, you can easily say that the person was paid to make the accusation. The policy doesn't make for very credible witnesses.”

Signed, Sealed, and Delivered
Frustrated with the stomping noise of children in the condo unit above her own, Baltimore, Md.-based author and handwriting analyst Keybe Writes sat down to write a considerate letter to deal with the noise and promote neighborly harmony. The result was Dear Neighbor: Apartment/Condominium Etiquette, a collection of 31 letters that cover timeless multifamily neighbor vs. neighbor issues like cleaning up after pets, handling strange work hours, using shared laundry facilities, and of course dealing with loud children and “rude” guests. Available on, Dear Neighbor also offers six courtesy letters for residents to use when they plan activities that may affect their neighbors, such as scheduling an exterminator visit or undertaking home improvements with noisy hammers and power tools. Stamps are sold separately.

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