In New South Wales, there is a specific by-law (clause 14 of Schedule 3) that deals with hanging of laundry. In Queensland and Victoria, the by-laws or building rules generally govern where and for how long you can hang laundry.
All owners have the right to enjoy their property in their own way. However, your strata by-laws and rules, may have restrictions about where laundry can be hung so that the appearance of the building from the street remains tidy.
In New South Wales, an owner or resident must not, without the prior written approval of the strata committee have anything visible that can be viewed from outside their lot. Hanging your clothes, sheets and other household fabrics on your balcony can look unpleasant and shabby.
You should make use of the laundry lines provided – not over the balcony railings, and ensure it is only hung outside for a reasonable amount of time.
Hanging wet clothes inside can increase the moisture in the room by nearly 30% which in turn encourages the mould growth and dust mites, so when possible it’s better to dry wet laundry outside or in a well-ventilated indoor space away from bedrooms and living areas.
If you are permitted to use your balcony to dry items, be aware that portable clothes racks can fly off the balcony in strong winds and cause injury to others or damage. Plus, if your laundry falls into the balcony below yours or blows into another owner’s private property, it may upset your neighbours and make things awkward.
Before doing your laundry, consider the space you have available to put it out to dry. Getting a bit of sun can do a whole lot of good – it’s known to kill germs, and little comes close to the enjoyment of a warm pile of freshly done laundry. However, if you live in an apartment sometimes space is at a premium. In this case, consider sharing an allocated clothesline, make use of a portable clothes rack or tumble dry small items.
If your neighbour is hanging out their laundry in a way that contravenes the by-laws or building rules, kindly letting them know. If you feel uncomfortable about approaching them, you can ask your committee or strata manager to speak to them on your behalf or put a notice on the notice board to inform residents so there is no misunderstanding.
If the verbal warnings from the strata committee are ignored, the rule breaker can be issued with a formal notice of breach of by-laws with a physical letter or email.
Your committee can hand them this notice of breach after the issue has been discussed and a resolution has been passed in a general meeting with owners corporation approval. Disputes related to continuous by-law breaches can be taken up with the Tribunal and this can lead to fines and penalties.
In Victoria, laundry doesn’t get a mention in the model rules, but the Owners Corporations Act specifically lists restrictions on drying laundry as a valid reason for creating a new by-law or building rule.
If you’d like to find out more on managing strata laundry, download your free Community Living guide on by-laws. Or for a consultation to review your by-laws by our Kemps Petersons Legal team, click here.