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    We have a few residents who like to hang their laundry on drying racks in their garages.  This is within their lots.  Though there are sometimes items of laundry hanging from garage doors, which is common property.

    The bylaw referring to laundry reads “an owner or occupier..must not..hang any washing…..in such a way as to be visible from outside building other than on any lines provided by the owners corporation…”

    We are a complex of townhouses.  So does outside the building mean from the driveway?  We all have our own clothes lines so the owners corp doesn't provide any.

    This is where I believe bylaws should have “appendix A” etc to distinguish one strata from another.  Definition of “outside building” would mean one thing for an apartment block, another for this?  Do we take this to mean outside the individual unit or from the street?  Can residents argue that the OC should provide lines that facilitate drying better in the colder weather?

    As I struggled to nagivate through the myriad of clothes drying racks positioned around my unit, I do sympathise with the plight of drying washing in this cold, grey weather with the prospect rising power prices.  I do not, however, wish my home and its surrounds looking similar to a street market in Bali.

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    Good on you FlatChatFan, constructive post I thought. Perhaps you and maybe  others besides me have taken Juan’s suggestion and Googled ‘clothes drying on apartment balconies’ and not enamoured with what they saw


    I am a big fan of washing lines.  To me there is nothing nicer than washing dried in the sun and fresh air, rather than being tumbled around in a hot box.  From an environmental and power use point of view, I don’t understand why people would opt for a drier, when they have a free alternative available to them that is kinder on their clothes etc.  Of course not everyone has that option available to them, but we do have a clothesline and almost everyone here shares my view. 

    There is one person who doesn’t like the clothesline.  They recently sabotaged it so when I was hanging the washing the one end of it came crashing down on my head.  Now that is just stupid and childish and if they think this will convince us to get rid of the clothesline, they have another think coming.

    I don’t think washing hung on a hoist for a brief period of time is offensive, provided it is brought in when it is dry, it is only washing.


    I live on the ground floor of a 6 storey block, with a small “balcony” (as my tenancy agreement describes, but I’m sure legally is a “courtyard”). 

    We have a small clothes-horse that we put out when the weather is good – no smalls on the thing, is just those big ticket items you just know will shrink in the tumble dryer… jeans, shirts etc etc … No washing dangling over a wall to common land, all washing neatly inside the courtyard.

    Over the past 12 months I have had 3 letters from the Strata Manager with accompanying pics of the drying out clothes.

    Now, someone has to push their camera through the trees and bushes that surround my “ground floor balcony” to take this images. The lst letter (3 months ago) threatened “legal action”.

    Nothing as yet inviting me to mediation (which I think is actually the correct process) – and a letter from the strata manager telling me that the “apartment has a built in tumble dryer for a purpose – use it”.

    I am waiting for the next pic, which will accompany me to the police station with proof of peeping tom once I ascertain who took the photo.


    I am interested to know what others think of this issue please.

    We have 4 lots in our strata plan.  We also have a huge grassy backyard.

    Opening onto this back yard is the side door of a garage of Lot 1, the side door of a garage of Lot 2, the door of the common laundry and the back door of the residence of Lot 4.  Lot 4 is also 2 storey & has a rear balcony overlooking this common back yard.  (Lot 4 also has a front balcony overlooking a grassy but much smaller yard that is also in front of the other 3 lots and is visible from the street).

    The owner of Lot 4 states objections to a common clothes line in this common back yard with a common laundry opening onto it because it would spoil their view of the back yard.

    Interestingly, there is a small wall clothes line in the side yard but it is in the shade and is not enough for all residents BUT the owner (wife/mother of a family of 4 people) of Lot 4 whom is the only resident home all day, uses and monopolises this clothes line with 2-3 loads every single day & hangs washing out late at night to use most of the line before those whom are working full time, can get to it.

    What do you think about this?  Unreasonable?  Valid reason?


    Why not just do as they ask, cdinoz, and stop the action that is offending someone and is against the house rules and which they are asking you to stop? Put your “small clothes horse” inside in some out-of-the-way place. Seems easy enough to me. Keep the tone and value of the building that little bit better.


    Morticia and Juan Durection, not all clotheslines have to be “on display”. Appropriately worded by-laws (or simply common agreement by owners!) can permit outside clothes drying that doesn’t have the washing visible, eg. clothes-horses must be equal in height or lower than balcony railings so as not to be visible from the street, or in a concealed alcove of the balcony (some buildings have an outside, but concealed area for this now). You can get airers that clip onto the balcony railing and face inward to provide concealed drying space.

    There’s a range of products out that can help with this sort of stuff -e.g.




    @Very Nice landlord, since you likely only need a majority to install another clothesline on common property, I don’t think Lot 4’s objections finally matter. Obviously it would be preferable to have some level of agreement – can perhaps a retractable line be installed, so it’s only out when actually in use? Since it sounds like they’re treating the common yard as ‘theirs’ (ie monopolizing the line, assuming the ‘view’ is all theirs) maybe you may need to take a sterner view though?


    @Juan Durection said:
     Keep the tone and value of the building that little bit better.

    Not sure what kind of tone you like, but I’d prefer to live in a building which supported using the wind and sun to dry clothes, instead of burning coal to do so…


    It also sounds like there’s a decent amount of greenery around the courtyard with the clothes horse, so it’s not as if the washing is on display – one must actively seek it out.


    cdinoz, I’d be seeking to have any strata rule about washing either clarified or amended to permit washing to be dried outside!



    I appreciate your post & information however, as installing a new hills hoist clothes line in the back yard is adding something new to common property, we actually require a special resolution which is at least 75% of the votes.

    Lot 4 has 45% & this has been the cause of many of our problems.  In effect, if Lot 4 calls ‘poll’ on votes (& has done so many times in the past) we cannot add to, change, or alter common property.

    They have said that if/when they move back to the property, they will remove the clothes line.  They do not care that their tenants, with their 1 year old baby, value this clothes line greatly.

    We have a drop down clothes line in the shaded side yard but the position in which we have installed the hills hoist (ie 3 of the 4 owners with a combined unit entitlement of only 55% WITHOUT authorisation) is the sunniest part of the back yard, near the common laundry which, to us, is common sense.  We have tested many, many, many things in the Tribunal but this time, we just DID IT as we are SO over the many months & application fees to achieve something that is so common sense, it is not funny.  Our view now, is let him remove it if he ever moves back (so not going to happen as he has a adult family of 4 that he squeezed into a 2 bedroom unit for 10 years) & we will address it then.

    I am still interested in the view of others about his rationale of it not being nice for his ‘view’ of the property.  Also, some prospective buyers of Lot 4 have said “Oh, isn’t this back yard all our own?” & when told no, “Oh, so who uses this laundry & who uses this clothes line & do we have to see other people’s underpants on this clothes line?”  I admit, our property is poorly designed but I have seen so many other properties with facilities in the common back yard & their owners don’t carry on like this dude.


    Has anyone thought of installing a solarventi in their apartment? it might help solve the problem of sticking the washing outside if installed in a bathroom that has an open window.. 


    I'm  thinking of installing one in the bathroom so I can get two rooms for the price of one, a washing area and drying room all in one (if strata approves.. problem is I'm not in the top floor).. Don't have to worry about damp towels in the winter or drying washing with the weather forecasted to rain 5 days in a row, rushing home to take in the washing before it rains cats and dogs and then all those hours of sunshine wasted, free warm air in the bathroom keeping the bathroom dry, free of mould and condensation, in the winter when you dry yourself there is constant supply of warm air so you won't get chilled or kiddies get cold.

    You can ditch the dryer and get dry clothes without the clothes falling apart all without effort and electricity..I think it would probably increase the property value since it is maintenance free.


    My 2 cents


    For those who are wondering, this is where to find out what a Solarventi is.

    I can think of a dozen reasons why this might not work for strata developments but it could be a goer for townhouses.

    I'd never heard of such a thing before so obviously I'm neither recommending or endorsing it.  Interesting concept, though


    As I am once again confronted with the sight of washing in my face as I enter/exit my front door, I wonder as to just why someone would want to let all the world see their unmentionables.  Though this at the moment may be a good distraction to anyone to the complex in that they may not notice the disrepair and lack of maintenance.  But I digress…..

    In our complex, a townhouse complex, the issue of washing has a different approach.  In a unit block, I believe that if the washing is kept under the railing on the balcony, then one couldn’t clearly see it from the common areas outside and neighbours could only see if they lean over their balconys in most instances. Here, my neighbours have their garage doors open so not only is their washing visible from the street, but from the front doors and windows of neighbours, and everyone has to drive by/walk by with this display at eye level.  But, if they had any common sense, they could close their garage doors 2/3 of the way.  Then it would not be clearly visible from common property, would not be visible at all from the street and neighbours would have to crouch down on all fours to see into their garage, which I would deem a breach of privacy!  An semi open garage door could be for cross ventilation purposes and it would be sufficient to allow an air flow into the garage and facilitate drying.  And no one would or should know it is washing behind that door.

    Another reason I believe should be considered when washing is clearly available is that it can tell someone outside who and how many live in a place and in some cases where they work or what they do for a living.  And in the case of the wide open garages in this complex, it allows access into the units without contest.  No deadlocks, no exterior quality doors.  Just a little interior door, the kind you have into the “powder room” with a little twist lock.  Anyone could just walk in, and they already have a fair idea of  who lives there by having a look at the washing.  

    So should an EC advise residents that this practice of leaving their garages and therefore their homes open to the public may not be in their best interests let alone the issue of the unsightly washing?  Or do we wait until something happens and the residents say “well someone should have told us not to do that”.


    Of course the sight of drying washing visible to the street or from common property (or another apartment) either on a balcony or inside, looks downright trailer-trashy and any well-meaning, altruistic notion that it is alright because of the environmentally negative of clothes dryers is… well… it reminds me of the very funny South Park episode called Smug where all the people driving hybrid cars were portrayed as smug and bent over a lot to smell their own expelled wind with satisfied nods.

    It’s OK to use your dryer occasionally and even better to have a clothes horse or two inside somewhere, out of view especially when you’re out. This works well in any well ventilated area that is not in a thoroughfare such as a hall.

    Better that than have your place look like a trailer park and the value of everyones’ investment in real estate goes down, down, down…


    @Juan Durection said:

    Of course the sight of drying washing visible to the street or from common property (or another apartment) either on a balcony or inside, looks downright trailer-trashy and any well-meaning, altruistic notion that it is alright because of the environmentally negative of clothes dryers is… well… it reminds me of the very funny South Park episode called Smug where all the people driving hybrid cars were portrayed as smug and bent over a lot to smell their own expelled wind with satisfied nods.

    “Of course”?  According to Cartman, perhaps.  I’ll see your “smug” and raise it with “snob”.


    So you don’t agree with my trailer-park theory?


    @Juan Durection said:
    So you don’t agree with my trailer-park theory?

    As I will argue in my upcoming book “Dirty Linen – the Social Significance of Washing Lines”, the way we view laundry drying has changed over the years.  The lines suspended between apartment blocks in New York and Rome, in days gone by, have a romanticism that the beach towels drying over Gold Coast balconies don’t quite possess.  Glasgow Tenement flats had ‘pulleys” that raised the dripping laundry above the kitchen where they would dry, protected from the inclement West of Scotland weather (but not from the chip fat fumes of the nightly fry-up).

    Now, here in Australia, our affordable luxury ceilings are too low for any such contraption so it’s either environmentally destructive and expensive tumble dryers or visually challenging but ecologically right-on (and free) balcony drying.  And far from visible washing being a sign of social disintegration, the balcony by-law breaches are just as likely to be a sign of environmentally aware and socially responsible members of the cappuccino-sipping set as they are to be ‘trailer trash’ who have upgraded to un-wheeled accommodation.

    What I find more upsetting are the bamboo fences that are starting to appear on balconies (especially in the great and growing Gulag on the way to the airport) as residents realise there was a very good reason neighbouring buildings were airbrushed out of the artists impression of the block in which they bought off the plan.

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