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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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    @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.

    Sir Humphrey

    @JimmyT said:

    … 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…

    That would be the ‘Fair Trade’ flat white-sipping set (with whom I am happy to be associated!)


    @PeterC said:

    That would be the ‘Fair Trade’ flat white-sipping set (with whom I am happy to be associated!)

    Way ahead of you … I have Fair Trade chocolate on my FairTrade coffee.  I wonder what the people in Fair Trading drink.


    I agree with Jimmy.


    I really don’t get what people find upsetting about seeing a bit of laundry on a balcony. Don’t we all wear clothes? And besides, not every building has the luxury or the space to provide clothes lines for residents.


    I think people with such delicate sensibilities need a reality check. Surely using a clothes line or clothes horse on a balcony, with free sunlight and air to dry the clothes, is far more acceptable in todays society than everyone using expensive and polluting electric dryers.


    There’s a very simple solution for people who have trouble with other people’s laundry: don’t look.


    I spoke to a real estate agent at the weekend. He reckoned that on a pro rata, hypothetical basis… a place with a smattering of laundry hanging in an unordered willy-nilly way, visible in, say, a third of the units if this was within the rules and by-laws… would fetch relatively less in a sale and less rent because it looked unattractive and as I have said recently… trailer-park-ish.

    See ya, I j gotta go and fire-up my three burner Beefmaster on the balcony; having a barbi this arvo. You free JimmyT.


    Flat Chat is a great place to be aware of people that I am so happy do not live anywhere near me.


    My parents lived in a house, north facing, with 180 degree water views. And they hung their washing in front of the front windows, blocking the view and visible from the street. This despite the fact that they had a large backyard with sunshine most of the day and a hills hoist. I thought that in strata I would be protected from such sights. There isn’t anything you can do in a house about where an owner puts their washing. I could imagine my parents neighbours having friends over and showing them their view “if you just look over there to the right past the flannette pajamas and night gown you can see the city skyline.

    Now my vista in not nearly as glamorous as my parents had. But none the less, I look out at some garden greenery and a couple of front doors. A neat and tidy outlook. That is when there is no washing hanging up there. In our complex we all have courtyards and our own individual clothes lines. Plus ample room for drying racks. And we are all in the same boat during winter and extended periods of wet weather. Most of us suffer with laundry hanging within our homes with multiple drying racks.

    When I lived in an apartment, I had a clothes rack on the balcony under the height of the railiing as did most residents. I could sit on my balcony and enjoy my outlook without having everyone’s washing in my line of view.

    When my parents home was sold, my mother wondered if I thought she would miss the view. Uhhhh, no. In fact, in her new home the view is the same. The washing is across the window that provides the view to her garden. But this time not visible from the street nor by neighbours.

    I am tempted to hang my washing for all my neighbours to see when the look out their front windows. Not the white cotton sheets but the old white t shirts that had greyed with stained armpits, underwear that has well and truly had its day and mismatched socks with holes at the toes. What a delightful sight to greet them when they open up their blinds in the morning .


    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.


    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.


    @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!


    Yeah, I’d like to read the actual wording of thta strata scheme’s by-laws to see on what grounds they are being prosecuted (or is it persecuted?). Methinks if there was a valid case to answer, they’d have received an official Notice To Comply on the statutory form by now.


    Please don’t misunderstand me, quote me out of context or verbal me guys. I merely say, if your washing offends someone and they feel strongly enough about it to say something, then simply hang it inside. It’ll get enough air. It’ll dry. Why get aggro about such a thing?

    Further, though, the argument that an apartment with everyone’s washing drying on their balconies or courtyards is aesthetically acceptable doesn’t wash ( hee hee her ) with me.


    Easy, Juan.  Someone disagrees with you – that’s all.  I don’t see how you’ve been verballed or quoted out of context – the context is pretty clear, you don’t think people should have to look at other people’s washing. 

    Fair enough – you are not Robinson Crusoe in that regard, or in thinking that it lowers the tone of a building.  You also think people should comply with their by-laws.  Again, a lot of people (including me) would agree.

    But Apartmentalize obviously disagrees that it lowers the tone of the building.  I take a different view which is that maybe it does but the trade off in what we are doing to the environment is worth it.

    And I asked for the actual wording of the by-law because, at the end of the day,  that’s all that matters in a strata dispute.  If there’s a by-law that cdinoz is breaching, then I’d say that reflects the view of the majority of owners so he or she should  live with it or try to change it.

    But if  this is just some uppity person on the EC getting the strata manager to do their dirty work and imposing rules that don’t exist while snooping on a neighbour, I’d say tell them to get stuffed.


    Whilst I don’t subscribe to the view that people behave inappropriately on purpose, but rather because they just don’t know any better, Juan’s posts don’t fit that model in my opinion.

    Juan, I think that for some reason you’re regularly and deliberately making contentious statements, some with obscure references that most don’t follow (unless they’re South Park fans), and too often feigning anger and indignation.

    I don’t need to know the reason, but if you can’t add value to the discussions without the aggro then I think it’s time for you to take another “I’m outta here” holiday, lest Jimmy T takes out the red card, because I for one have almost had enough.


    I should clarify that I don’t think a free-for-all with clothes everywhere is the best outcome, but more in the circumstances presented (concealed courtyard) it seems a better outcome than using a dryer. In general, OCs should encourage outside drying to the maximum extent possible (which may vary depending on the building, its occupants, and their options and choices). I’m lucky in that my apartment block all units have both front and rear balconies, and only the rear are used for drying which keeps the aesthetic nice.

    As Jimmy said though, it all comes down to the specific by-laws, and my experience is, these are widely ‘quoted’… inaccurately… by those with an agenda.

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