Dear PoPville – Update on Axiom/Trash Valet Battle

Valet Waste

On Aug. 2 a reader first wrote in about a new trash valet service fee at their rental. Another reader updates:

Dear PoPville,

A call to boycott the new $25/mo Valet Waste service at our building (Axiom at Capitol Yards) came in under our door a couple days ago, to my roommates’ and my amusement. [Trash Boycott Flyer] This was followed by a letter from the management to tell us about how this new service charge is the greatest thing that will solve all the trash problems that we didn’t have until they started charging us for it. [Axiom Response Flyer]

The management company has apparently been hit with enough complaints that they’ve felt compelled to issue a response. They’ve tried to justify the additional fee by citing increasing costs in trash collection, yet claiming that they are adding a new luxury service at the same time to deflect the cost (a circular argument at best).

The fact is, the management company has done a stupendously poor job in outlining its proposal to residents, instead choosing to impose a fee on its residents with no clear opt-out and a total lack of transparency. For $25/mo, I’m sure many residents would like other things as a “luxury amenity” rather than being saved the effort to lug the trash for tens of feet all the way to the chute on the same floor.

And to smooth things over, Valet Waste is hosting a resident happy hour to answer questions on Wednesday at 5:30pm. This whole thing was funny in the beginning, but now it STINKS.

They may take our trash, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM! -Mel Gibson

28 Comment

  • diploj

    I’m not sure I see the problem here. They are giving you a service for free until you renew, and then if/when you renew, they are going to subtract the service fee from your rent increase (which I’m sure is limited to 10% by DC law), so the service is still free. New residents will be aware of the fee and can decide if they want to pay it (sign the lease) or not pay it (find another place). What am I missing?

  • Not to mention the fact that the service was implemented at no one’s request. I’m pretty sure everyone doesn’t mind getting off their butts to take the trash out of their apartment, 10 feet away from their door, when the alternative is to look/smell trash in the hallways!! How lazy do you have to be???? lol

  • anon. gardener

    They make it sound like they were going to charge you a $25 trash fee anyway, and decided to throw in this valet service for free, so you don’t feel ripped off. I smell something – it’s garbage, but not the stuff in your trash can. Man am I glad I don’t rent anymore!

  • With how ridiculous mid-rise luxury apartment rents are these days, i’m surprised this is the 25 dollars that put you over the edge…

  • i guarantee someone in the condo management is related (friends, family, or employee) to valet waste.

  • I’d be interested to see how wide spread this is in Buzzuto/JP Morgan properties. Valet Waste was recently bought by the private equity firm New Mountain Capital, LLC, and the Axiom was recently bought by JP Morgan. New Mountain has significant ties to New Mountain, as many New Mountain guys came from JPM. Guess who else is former JP Morgan? Toby Bozzuto himself. Must be a pretty nice ratchet to have your former banker friends buy properties, give the management over to another former banker friend who then forces residents to pay yet another group of former banker friends.

    • Bozzuto is a horrible management company. I have first-hand experience. Now that I know, I’m staying away from these huge management companies and going for a company that’s been recommended by friends or whatever.

      • I live in a Bozzuto building and have had nothing but great experiences with the management. But ymmv.

        • I’ve had mixed results with Bozzuto, and we do not have this valet service but I’d actually really like it. We’re in a low-rise community where you have to walk fairly far to the dumpster. It’s not a huge inconvience, but it’d definitely be nice to have someone come pick up my trash from my door. In an inclosed building with trash chutes, it’s just a stupid idea.

  • These “luxury” buildings are a mess. My so-called luxury building overcharges for water with some kind of bogus explanation of how they use water to cool/heat the building. Maybe they do but it’s outrageous. I would fight the leasing company if they started charging me this fee. All they do is provide happy hours and movies in the courtyard as if that can make up for poor management. Everything you have to pay for – even getting someone to change your lightbulb. I’m ready to move when my lease is up.

  • I have a theory that all the high rise residential buildings in this part of town are maybe 60% full…can anyone weigh in who lives over there? Are these places full?

    • My building was nearly full but a lot of people have moved out. We used to be able to see what apartments were available but they took that off the website. It’s way less user friendly. Plus another same luxury building opened across the street. I am not sure if they are seeing a huge turnover or not, but we are moving out and never going to rent from a “luxury” building again.

    • My highrise near the Axiom had only one unoccupied/lease signed unit 2 weeks ago. We exceed 99% occupancy regularly.

  • Anyone who lives at this property should keep up the pressure to force them to abandon this scam. It’s clearly an attempt to nickel and dime. I’m sure as turnover continues this will be phased in one way or another (along with other service fees I’m sure) but this obviously stinks.

  • Here’s a theory: The management company is being fined by the city because people are putting recyclables in the trash and vice versa. The management company thinks renters won’t care if the management company gets fined and so won’t follow the rules strictly enought to make the fines stop. So they are hiring this company to collect and sort people’s trash for them into recyclables and trash and pasing the cost on to the renters. I live in a condo, which was being fined for this reason. But the members of the condo association have an incentive to make the fines stop, since they end up paying them through condo fees. I’ve always wondered how a management company of a (rental) apartment building would make sure tenants comply with DC’s extremely strict recycling rules.

    • Reasonable theory.

    • This is a very plausible theory. The real solution here is to abandon the recycling mandate, which is a scam designed to make liberals feel better about their consumption habits without doing any real good for the environment.

    • Privately owned multi-family units don’t get city waste collection. They have to pay for a private trash hauler. And as far as I know, there’s absolutely no city supervision of the recycling. I’ve seen my building’s private hauler throw everything – recycling, trash, yard waste – into one truck and leave.

  • People are overreacting to the idea of having trash in the halls. I used to live in a building that did not have trash chutes on each floor. After a day or so of wondering how to take out my own trash I realzed that people just left their trash bags in the hallways and the doormen would come and pick it up. The building never reeked of trash.

    They came and picked it up between 2-3am so I’d rarely even notice other people’s trash in the hallways. Maybe one suggestion would be to see if there is any flexibilty in rescheduling the pickup time.

    • Still sounds disgusting. I’m sure this company somehow makes money, but its just ridiculous that people can be so lazy.

    • That’s because you didn’t have a trash chute on every floor…in this building, there are trash chutes on every floor and within 10 steps of the elevators everyone has to take to get downstairs. The fact that there is a need for this is ridiculous.

  • I’m laughing at the thought of OP painting his face blue, donning a kilt, and slamming a battering ram at the offices of Axiom Management.

  • So what was the trash fee’s before?

    It is $25 on top of what it was, or now $25 total?

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