Dear PoPville – Valet Trash Service!?!??!

Valet Waste Intro flyer -Axiom

Dear PoPville,

My apartment building (Axiom at Capital Yards) was recently bought by a management company. Since taking over they’ve started initiating the most asinine policies I’ve seen in nearly a decade of DC apartment renting. This, however, takes the cake. How many 800 square foot apartments do you know with the extra space for a 13 gallon trash can? Also, how fantastically lazy do they think we are that carrying a trash bag 23 feet to the chute end of the hall is an inconceivably difficult task?

Oh, and I heard from a friend in the building whose lease is up for renewal and they’re instituting a monthly $25 trash convenience fee. Makes the decision to renew that much easier, so that’s positive.

Sorry, this is just so stupid I had to share:

Dear Valued Resident:

Axiom at Capitol Yards is pleased to announce a new time –saving service and trash management solution for you: door-to-door trash and recycling pickup 5 nights per week. You’ll no longer have to lug heavy bags of trash down the hallways.

We’ve partnered with Valet Waste to provide this service at our community beginning Sunday, August 5, 2012.

Valet Waste will pick up the trash and recycling 5 nights a week, Sunday through Thursday at 8pm sharp. All residents must put their trash in a grab handle or tied bags and place these bags outside their apartment doors in the containers provided by Valet Waste service no earlier than 6pm and no later than 8pm. All trash containers must be taken back in by 9am the following morning.

68 Comment

  • I’d talk to the manager, see if they can also have someone pop around between 6-8am to flush my toilet for me.

  • When you get home between 6-8 pm your hallway smells like trash. Or if you have spolied raw chiken or other smelly item you have wait to throw it out.

    • This! Did the person who thought up this brilliant policy never happen to meander around the city streets on trash day? For a good hour, it’s ungodly. And that’s in an open air space….can’t imagine how this is going to fly in a closed-off hallway. The area right by the trashroom in my complex smells terrible.

  • Must be PPercy’s building. 🙂

  • jim_ed

    Oh Axiom, never change.

    As a former resident there, I applaud your decision to move out. Idiotic doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the management office there.

    That being said, I had Valet Waste when I lived in a 4 story walk up years ago, and it was actually worth the ~$15 or so they charged a month to not have to schlep a big bag of garbage down the stairs and halfway across the complex to the dumpster. However, the Axiom has trash chutes on every floor, so what purpose does this serve? This would be like hiring a valet to park your car in your driveway for you. What a joke.

  • This actually sounds awful. I wouldn’t want to have to come home to a hallway full of trash cans. Ugly and smelly. Also your guests would have to see all of this garbage in the hallway as well–how embarrassing!

  • This is pretty stupid and a complete waste of money. Can you opt out? I wouldn’t want that big ugly bin in my apartment. Also, why do they need to come 5 nights per week??

  • If you hate it so much, why not continue taking the trash out like you used to?

    Seriously, people should wait 5 minutes and think about things before they e-mail stuff like this.

    • Because they don’t have the option to opt-out — even if they don’t participate, they still have to pay for the “service.”

      • I mean, they should at least CHECK first to see if they can opt out of it.

        • How does one opt out of a hallway with smelly trash bags every where every night?

        • There is no option to opt-out. We can return the cans to the front desk so they don’t take up space in our apartments, but we’re still going to be charged for the service.

      • I live here and haven’t heard anything about having to pay. My lease is not up for some time, but I haven’t heard a thing about paying. Where is this information coming from? Other than the person on here who said they heard that from someone else… who heard it from someone else?

        • No, it is for real. I got the same email earlier this week and thought it was just absurd. I had forgotten until the OP mentioned it, but we got our lease renewal forms a few weeks ago and they had included the $25 monthly trash fee. I can’t figure out how this even came up as a necessary service?

    • He doesn’t have to use the service, but he’ll still be charged the fee regardless and will still have to come home to a hallway full of trash cans. I wouldn’t mind something like this, but I live in a third floor walk-up with only four apartments and have to take my trash down the stairs, outside, and around the building. This is pointless if you have a trash chute on every hall. If anything, they could do it once a week or on-demand for heavier items.

    • Seriously, people should wait 5 minutes and think about things before they e-mail stuff like this.

      Funny, I was thinking the same about your comment.

  • yeah, this is pretty fucking ridiculous.

    That being said, I’ve always wondered about people who live in high rise buildings that have stupid management companies bitching about the problem(s) the management causes – specifically, why, if you don’t like what they are doing, don’t you get the tenants association to vote against it and make them stop? Or if you lack a tenant’s association, why don’t you form one? I once lived in a building that made all sorts of stupid decisions (specifically regarding extra fees like this one), so I organized my neighbors, made a tenants association, and voted not to pay them. When we collectively said “you’re stupid, so you don’t get any extra money anymore”, they had to stop.

    • Mu husband and I moved out of the Axiom last November after living there for two years, and while we were there, there actually was a tenants association. There were a number of problems with it. First, a large number of the residents did not buy into it, so organizing everyone to stop paying would be a monumental task in a large building. Second, when the tenant association did try to work with management on issues, management usually ignored them and kept on with the policy. In fact, I remember at least once where all residents got a letter under their door saying something to the effect of “we heard your opinions, but we are going to keep things the way they are currently anyway”. I believe the ridiculous security guard/babysitter on the roof deck was the cause of that letter.

      I had a few qualms with the tenants association itself, and these were probably good identifiers why residents were reluctant to be affiliated with it, but that is a different story for a different day.

      • I think the other poor thing about the Axiom tenant’s association is that they did a terrible job promoting it. I’ve lived here three years, and your post is the first I’ve heard of the building having an association.

        • jim_ed

          That’s because the tenant’s association was hijhacked by building curmudgeon and Mayor Gray henchman/crony Talib Karim, who tried to use it as a one man panel, often times posting meeting notices the very afternoon they were to be held. It was a totally worthless enterprise for anyone to even bother trying to join.

          Seriously, that guy is a piece of work.

          • thebear

            This is why it is crucial that an association establish formal bylaws that clearly define what may and may not be done by officers. We require at least 1 annual meeting open to all residents, plus annual election of officers (closed meeting only for dues-paying members in good standing). Bylaw changes must be agreed to by a majority of the dues-paying membership; this ensures that there are no unilateral/dictatorial changes made (harmful to the organization or not). While people who work for the landlord or a city agency with a regulatory relationship with the building may become members, anyone having a conflict of interest (including relatives or household members) are barred from being elected to, or otherwise installed in, an officer position. We also have rules regarding removal of an officer who is not doing their job in accordance with the bylaws. So whatever happened to your association was due to bad governance and/or stewardship. It’s easy to blame “the bad guys” but in the end, it comes down to what the group does or does not do to protect itself.

    • Because if you rent, you likely can’t form a tenants’ association. Almost all major management companies ban them in the lease — mine does. You can lose your lease if you organize one.

  • First – 13 gallons is actually not that large – your current trash can is likely that big (or larger).
    Second – This is absurd in a new building that has trash chutes.
    Third – of all the extras I’d want in a building for $25/mo, this would be the last thing I’d want. I have to carry my trash but I get free coffee every morning, donuts/bagels on Mondays, parties once a quarter and free wi-fi.

    • Where is this magical place you live? I would kill for free coffee made for me every morning.

      • The coffee isn’t made for you – its a kurig in the lobby.
        And this magical place – Carillon House (part retirement home, part Gtwon Med School dorm, and touch of awesome).

        • Emmaleigh504

          Do I need to fit into 1 of those 2 categories to move in? (I am so ready for my fancy retirement home, but I’ve got another 30 some odd years to go.)

          • My former apartment at Warder Mansion had the free keurigs and pastries in the lobby, and free wi-fi as well. The only thing in that list that we didn’t have was parties, probably because there wasn’t a good space to do that sort of thing.

        • Parties with retirees and medical students? Must be loads of fun. “Hey sonny–can you have a look at this rash?” “Let me grab a few drinks first, pops.”

      • My place has a keurig too. Sweet!

    • The Axiom has a coffee machine for residents.

  • Perhaps a hallway full of trash cans overnight would constitute an obstruction under fire department regulations? Imagine having to evacuate and everyone tripping and falling over toppled garbage cans.

    • You might be right about it violating the housing code; hallways must be kept clear of obstructions. I bet you can call DCRA (if not directly, try through the office of the tenant advocate or 311) and have them schedule an inspection.

      However, the building might be fined (don’t know if they can pass this on to you). And you’ll probably want to move out after doing that since mgmt will make your life miserable afterwards.

      Can they even make you pay this? Seems like it would violate your lease to force it (they could just make new residents pay and let you opt out)

    • I live here – the cans won’t be ‘in’ the hallways, as each apartment has a entryway that’s external. I’m sure the bins will go in that entryway area; not the actual hall.

  • Sounds like a great way to have stinky hallways.

  • Sounds like Bozzuto Managment Company…

    • I was thinking the same thing. Somewhere, someone at Bozuto is reading this and thinking it sounds like a great idea. Except it’ll be $50 a month, and they’ll totally forget to pick up the trash.

  • Sadly, we’re in the hunt right now for a new place and this seems to be a trend. All of the Archstone management buildings we have visited and all of the Camden management buildings we have visited tout this as a “luxury amenity”. It seems altogether strange to me.

  • It’s a dumb idea but at least it has created a job for a few folks who might need it…..IDK

  • This is the WORST idea I have ever heard of. Do you know how many people are gong to put there trash out in the morning (or midday) cause they won’t be home around 8?? Wait until the mice/rat problem starts.
    Oh the smell in the hallways is going to be awful. PoP please make a note to yourself to re-address this in Oct to see how things are going there with that.

  • If you don’t like paying for the “amenities” stop looking at buildings like this, or Archstone, and rent from a non-large management building. It’ll probably be cheaper and you get the luxury of carrying out your own trash!

    • Sure, “don’t look at buildings like this” applies to anyone hunting for a new place… but the people who are already there still have to deal with it either until they move out, or until the PoP coverage and/or objections from tenants get the management company to back down.

  • thebear

    In the modern day, this is just plain stupid.

    I had an aunt who lived in a garden apartment complex in NYC 50 years ago. People put their garbage out in the halls every morning (usually just in paper sacks!) and it was collected by the porters. All that did was spare people from having to trip downstairs to the nearest incinerator (each cluster of buildings had one). In the 1970s, they shut down the incinerators and put a few dumpsters out in the parking areas, but continued the porter service for a few more years. Surprisingly, it didn’t stink to high heaven or create a mess (since the janitors came by and mopped the hallways every afternoon).

    That was then. If my building tried something like that, I would rally the association and have it halted really damn fast…especially if there was a mandatory fee that residents could not opt out of. If you don’t have a tenant association, *form one*.

  • let’s not forget the people who have alternative schedules. basically any restaurant employee or other folks who work later than 8pm would never be able to get rid of their trash. classic!

  • This $600 yearly expense was a driving factor in not choosing to live in the Axiom. I understand that this is a “luxury” service, but not being able to opt-out was a real turnoff. I’m simple I guess in that I enjoy walking to the chute and seeing my trash go away.

  • Ha! This is funny – I used to live in a building with this sort of approach to the trash, but only because it was a ramshackle place and didn’t have any other way for us to dispose of garbage. The thought of a fancy new building doing it just makes me laugh. It wprked OK though and I never noticed any problem with smells in the hallways. Of course, we didn’t pay an extra fee for it either.

  • “How many 800 square foot apartments do you know with the extra space for a 13 gallon trash can?”

    All of them? A 13-gallon can takes up about one square foot of floor space, or about 0.125% of your apartment.

    I’m sure you’ll do just fine with the other 799 square feet.

  • Its actually a cool service for me. I live in a large complex with a compactor in the wayyyy back and I am on the 3rd floor. I hated lugging my trash across there or throwing it in my car to drive it there. The service isn’t as disgusting as it sounds as all the trash cans have lids where I am and since they do it 5 nights a week you might see 4-5 trash cans in a building of 40 on any given night….so it’s not like EVERYBODY puts it out on one night. If you Put it out early or leave ur trashcan out they’ll come around and fine you. Also we had a waste bill of like $11 already so they just added this to that and now it is $25…so for 14 bucks a month to never take out my trash and they pick up my recycling? Yes please!!!!

  • I hope to goodness my apartment building in the same neighborhood doesn’t get any such hair-brained ideas under it’s new management (not the same as Axiom’s buyer)

  • I live in the Axiom as well, and have received the same notice.

    I’ve lived here three years, just beginning my fourth. First of all, to clarify, a management company did not buy Axiom (and 909), JP Morgan bought Axiom and 909, and chose Bozutto Management to handle the properties.

    As far as the new trash service – My first thought also, was, how will I fit this new bin in my apartment? I have 300 extra square feet compared to the complainer in the post, but even still…

    My second thought was – It’s about time. I’ve lived here THREE YEARS, and this is pretty much the first ‘luxury’ service I’ve received in this supposedly luxury building. Each year has been continually worse than the previous… 4-5 kids in an apartment, beer cans in the hallways, frat parties on the roof pool, and worst of all, the management (Greystar), who were more concerned with leasing apartments than actually interacting/dealing with/helping the current residents. I’ve walked up 9 stories because the elevators weren’t working and they refused to turn on the service elevator, we’ve had a bike stolen from the garage (not all that unusual, except for the fact that the police office who lives in our building at a discounted rent LET the thief in behind him in the garage on his bicycle…a big no-no), we’ve had Greystar lose our rent check for several months, had them tell us we didn’t pay our pet deposit, despite receipt in hand signed by them… the list goes on and on. We partly moved in the because of the front desk and concierge, but when you ask them for help, they get annoyed. Your guests used to be able to sign in and come up, but now you’re supposed to come down and escort them up. Because one too many kids had their frat party friends wandering around. Sorry. If I’m hosting a dinner party or my kids are sleeping, I’m supposed to just leave my guests or my kids to bring my guests up? Isn’t that why I pay 3k a month (Sorry, $2,947)? To HAVE a front desk / concierge to call up for me and screen them? I could go on and on. The only reason we stayed and re-signed this spring is because 1) We knew the Nats might have a winning season and we’re big baseball fans, and 2) we heard that another management company had taken over with the building sale.

    So when they want to institute wrist bands so there aren’t too many uninvited guests on the roof? I’m okay with that. When they want to email me when I get a package instead of taping a note to my mailbox? I’m okay with that too. The fact that someone always calls or emails me back SAME DAY when I have a question, as opposed to Greystar management who would take days or a week to call me back? Good there. They deduct my rent right away? Don’t lose my checks? Pretty professional.

    And yesterday afternoon as I tried to lug my two trash bags down the hall with my two year old who wouldn’t let go of my leg and my 8 year old who had to come because my two year old was coming, it all of a sudden didn’t seem too bad to have someone pick up my trash every night, especially because for the past three years, we’ve been receiving less-than-luxury treatment for luxury price.

    As long as they don’t jack my rent up next spring when my lease runs out for this ‘convenience,’ I’m all set. As far as I’m concerned, this is just the beginning of the building getting their reputation back. (They only have about 18% or so approval on – mostly management complaints).

  • I live here and my main issue with all of these rules and policies that they’re putting in place is that there’s absolutely no consideration or questions about what the residents think might be beneficial. I think that many people would have a lot less complaints about all these things being implemented if there was a survey or some sort of invitation for feedback prior to things being thrown at them. I already inquired about that and they said that they would survey everyone after some time. I doubt that will happen but I guess time will tell.

    As for tenants’ associations, I believe the only time one of those can be formed would be if there was a situation where the building was being sold to another buyer and the association is formed so that the residents can decide if they are going to proceed with a right of first refusal and purchase the building themselves. I could be wrong on that but from what I’ve read lately, that’s the case. Personally, I’ve been thinking of the tenants’ association idea myself but with more and more of these things being implemented, I’d rather not waste my time and just find a building with better management, based on existing residents’ feedback.

    • thebear

      Absolutely incorrect about forming an association. I’m president of ours for 5 years now. Ours was formed 13 years ago because of a dispute over a rent surcharge. Being already-established and active group does have somewhat greater clout in the event of a sale or requests to up the rent because of major renovations. When there isn’t anything “major” going on, we work to help resolve resident complaints, and address quality of life issues in the neighborhood. We’re the official representatives and advocates for the residents, and primary point of contact with the ANC and other stakeholders.

      • thebear

        I also have to give fair warning that it is not an easy job to keep it going. And, quite often, it gets very frustrating and is pretty thankless. If you have a lot of turnover in the building, you are perpetually making the case to newcomers why it’s important to join. And, once a major issue has come and gone, people tend to quickly forget about the association.

        I would say that the most important thing is to establish that the association is NOT about being anti-management or confrontational. That will breed a lot of ill will and cause self-destruction in short order. You have to keep steering people to working constructively and for the mutual interests of both residents *and* the management. It’s a community, and all of you have a stake in what happens in the building and around it. Yeah, going to ANC meetings, ABC hearings, and listening to people sometimes just whine about their own stupidity is not glamorous…but whether you’re there for a few years or planning to stay longer, everyone owes it to themselves and their neighbors to give a hoot and participate in one way or another.

        • Wow, good to know. Thank you for the info on the tenants association. I’ve honestly been debating starting one but at this point, I’m not even sure it’s worth it, since with all of these changes, I’m about 99.9% sure we’re gonna move out once our lease expires in a few months.

  • sounds like the management co. in in bed with the trash collection co. If you have any lawyers with some even an ounce of free time living at Axion, the management co. might get a legal challenge. Sounds like borderline extortion.

  • In regards to the question of “Also, how fantastically lazy do they think we are that carrying a trash bag 23 feet to the chute end of the hall is an inconceivably difficult task?” you’d be surprised. Both self-proclaimed luxury apartment complexes that I’ve lived in in Arlington (one in Court House, one in Pentagon City) had trash rooms with a chute inside on every floor, but neither ever failed at having trash just littered inside the trash room.

    You’ve walked that far to the room, you can’t step inside three feet, open the chute, and drop the bag in? I think the valet service is ridiculous, especially if you can’t opt out, but I suppose if that’s the measure one needs to take to ensure that the halls stay clean?

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