One of the ways we can help reduce carbon emissions in the home is by minimising the use of clothes driers. But how does that work in a strata situation where there may be restrictions on sun drying washing?
The humble private balcony has long been prohibited from use, not just because some scheme members are worried about how their property looks with dirty laundry but because there are also legal provisions.
Schedule 1 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 has the relevant clause.
The paragraph states, “An owner or occupier of a lot must not, except with the consent in writing of the owners corporation, hang any washing, towel, bedding, clothing or other article on any part of the parcel in such a way as to be visible from outside the building other than on any lines provided by the owners corporation for the purpose and there only for a reasonable period.”
Traditionally, Owners Corporations have been reluctant to grant permission to lot owners to hang washing on their balcony because they believe washing looks unsightly.
There was a push in 2010 when the Department of Fair Trading made recommendations to the then Minister, Virginia Judge that this impediment be partially removed. Strata resident may hang washing on any part of their lot provided that the washing wasn’t visible from the street. If the washing could be seen from the street, then the resident would need written approval from the Owners Corporation.
At the time, The Sydney Morning Herald quoted the Fair Trading Department’s Deputy Commissioner, Steve Griffin, in response to the proposed changes. “During our consultation there was overwhelming support for us to go down this path because it’s more environmentally friendly,” he said. ”But there were also concerns that there’d be laundry everywhere, and it wouldn’t be such a great look for buildings.”
In essence these changes struck a balance between maintaining the appearance of the building and the environmental concerns.
Schedule 2 of the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2010 has the amended clause.
(1) An owner or occupier of a lot may hang any washing on any lines provided by the owners corporation for that purpose. Such washing may only be hung for a reasonable period.
(2) An owner or occupier of a lot may hang washing on any part of the lot provided that the washing will not be visible from street level outside the parcel.
(3) An owner or occupier of a lot may hang washing on any part of the lot that will be visible from street level outside the parcel only if the owner or occupier has the prior written approval of the owners corporation.
Owners Corporations need to adopt these regulations as a by-law to allow strata members to benefit from reduced energy bills and decreased carbon emissions.
If property owners must use a dryer, it’s advisable not to put saturated clothes into the machine – always spin dry them first in the washing machine. It’s also important to keep the dryer’s lint filter clean to maintain good air flow.
For more information on drying clothes, contact your Strata Manager at Netstrata.