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    I am having a problem with people hanging  out their washing at all times  of the  day and night (sometimes 11pm) in their balconies and there are strong laundry smells coming into my whole flat  and into my bedroom at all times of the day and  night from my next door neighbour to tenants living in the opposite and next  door block of units.

    I have complained via emails and telephone to the different building managements and strata managements of our building and also the building across the road from us and the next door building but they will not take any action and my concern is the constant daily 24 hour exposure to the chemicals in the detergents and its health effects in my own home.

    Rang council and complained but they said  it is not in  their jurisdiction to deal with this issue. What can I do?

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    Sir Humphrey

    While I can find excessive perfume smells annoying (eg. the lady next to me at a recent concert I attended), I have to feel a little scepticism when OP’s concern over perfume in washing extends to “the building across the road from us”, unless the road is very narrow and the buildings are tall and wide.

    I am reminded of an instance when one person’s concern over the noise of an air-conditioner inhibited that person’s neighbour from using it, even when his elderly wife was terminally ill in mid-summer. The person claimed special sensitivity. The sound level, objectively measured with a sound level meter only a few meters from the compressor, was barely above ambient on a day with a light breeze and well below noise limits set by reasonable standards.

    That said, we could all do with fewer unnecessary chemicals added to detergents and the like.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by .

    The other side of the coin… and this is going to come across as excessively negative but it cost our scheme a lot of money and put the residents through 18 months of hell, hounded one elderly resident so much that we all genuinely believe the stress contributed to her death and delayed essential maintenance works for the scheme…

    A number of years back we had someone move into our scheme “temporarily” who claimed to have allergys to perfumes and other chemicals and had found a quack to declare it as a disability. Being the kind trusting people we were we said no problem we’ll delay the works 6 months.

    Well 6 months was the first lie. Turned out even the alergy was a lie as the resident in question was caught out on camera doing things that didn’t align with the allergy. But because it was a “disability” we were threatened with disability discrimination every time we said or did anything.

    In the end she did raise a disability discrimination complaint against the scheme and luckily we found a good lawyer who got her to admit to more lies in mediation.

    The general outcome from a legal perspective was that majority rules. It is unreasonable to expect everyone to live as though they have an allergy because one person chose to live in a location that was generally unsuitable for them.

    It’s unfortunately harsh but its the reality of the situation.

    The only thing the OP can actually do is find somewhere more suitable to live. Yeah it sucks particularly if your allergy is genuine and not a scam like our troublemaker.

    In high density areas though, the situation is only going to intensify for the OP.

    People use their balconies because driers are expensive to run and because common drying areas are great for getting your clothes stolen or damaged.



    The OP has my sympathy, there are a lot of unnecessarily highly scented laundry products on the market – the thing is, those smells are created with chemicals, and they don’t do a thing for your laundry. I have one neighbour who uses them, and I try to steer clear when I come up the stairs and his dryer is blasting out chemical laden fumes. Any exposure and my eyes and sinuses swell up, and I am in pain for quite some time.

    So I agree with Jimmy, the OP has a right to reasonable enjoyment of their property, and I don’t think they’re being a snowflake, this is more common than people realise.



    If you can prove that you are significantly sensitive to the perfumes from detergents and fabric softeners, you could raise a complaint under Section 153 (below).

    To put the “nuisance” clause in context, if a neighbour had a cat that caused you have asthma attacks, you could take action to have it removed from the building, or at least from being anywhere near you.  If the issue was cigarette smoke, you could stop people from smoking on their balconies.

    It’s amazing how insenitive people are to perfume sensitivity.  I was on a plane recently when a woman stood up and sprayed herself with some sort of scent that had people around her coughing and sneezing.  On the other hand, I’ve heard some offices have “no scent” days to give workers a break from the over-abundance of scents, aftershaves and deodorants.

    Anyway, your first challenge is to get some authoritative medical opinion that you suffer unreasonably from an allergy to artificial scents. Then you can ask your owners corp to tell the culprits to either stop drying their laundry on their balconies or use unscented laundry products  (yes, they exist!). At least they’ll have a choice which is more than you have at the moment.

    As for the allergy tests, I googled and got this clinic.  All I know about them is that they have a website, so this is not so much a recommendation as a recognition that they exist.  By the way the term “nuisance” as in Section 153, is a legal term with specific meanings, rather than something that’s a bit annoying.


    153 Owners, occupiers and other persons not to create nuisance
    (1) An owner, mortgagee or covenant chargee in possession, tenant or occupier of a lot in a strata scheme must not:
    (a) use or enjoy the lot, or permit the lot to be used or enjoyed, in a manner or for a purpose that causes a nuisance or hazard to the occupier of any other lot (whether that person is an owner or not), or
    (b) use or enjoy the common property in a manner or for a purpose that interferes unreasonably with the use or enjoyment of the common property by the occupier of any other lot (whether that person is an owner or not) or by any other person entitled to the use and enjoyment of the common property, or
    (c) use or enjoy the common property in a manner or for a purpose that interferes unreasonably with the use or enjoyment of any other lot by the occupier of the lot (whether that person is an owner or not) or by any other person entitled to the use and enjoyment of the lot.

    Fey Knows

    Thanks for posting this though I’m not going to be able to be any help, however I will watch this thread carefully.

    Sensitivities and straight-out allergies to some of the modern and usually cheap’n’nasty perfumes in washing powders, cleaning agents and even actual ‘perfumes’  / fragrances is very common and be debilitating. I suffer from this and always have to be careful. Something has to give.

    I don’t know what you might do. Good luck.

    Sir Humphrey

    My neighbours generally dry their washing on clotheslines in their courtyards or balconies. As this has never bothered me, I can understand why your claim that you might suffer an adverse health effect may have been met with some scepticism.

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