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    I live in a strata complex which has a number of buildings around a central courtyard. My unit is on the 4th floor with a balcony which facing into the courtyard.

    Recently got a breach of by-law notice for having a laundry rack on the balcony. The by law states (emphasis added): “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.”

    What does ‘outside the building’ generally refer to?

    A bit miffed as my laundry rack is just a small one (~1m) tall, and I don’t usually place it close to the edge of the balcony. Furthermore as I’m four stories up and my balcony wall is covered for the first 1m, the only way the rack would be seen is from a small portion of lots above my floor, none of which are within 20m of direct line of sight. No way it can be seen from ground level.

    Waiting on a response from strata/EC but I feel it’s a bit heavy handed.


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  • #16124

      I have to out myself here as a believer in the power of the sun and wind to do the job we blithely give to electricity hungry drying machines.

      Confessions over, you could have a lot of fun with this and go totally Bush Lawyer on them.  If what you say is true (and I don’t doubt it is) then someone would have to be inside the building to be able to see on to your balcony.  If that’s the case, you haven’t breached the by-law which was clearly written to apply to laundry that could be seen from the street – another issue entirely.

      Send it back with a note saying you have not breached the by-law because it’s impossible to see on to your balcony from outside the building and you look forward to the mediation session at Fair Trading where they show evidence that the washing was visible from anywhere but inside the building. 

      I shouldn’t encourage you, really, but I’m seeing a whole re-enactment of the “magic bullet” scene from JFK, with charts and powerpoints.  However, I’m betting myself a dark chocolate Tim Tam that the response will be a stunned silence.

      The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.

      Truth being told Jimmy I already thought of measuring line-of-sight angles and gave up after I realised it’s been far too long since I did physics at school.


      I will challenge this notice as I believe it’s a bit harsh – it’s not visible from ground level at all, and I also note the model by-laws under Sch 2 of the Strata Scheme Amendment Regulation 2010 (https://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_reg/ssmr2010333/sch2.html) are much more receptive to drying stuff outside.


      Thanks for the words of encouragement. Will let you know how I get on!


        When I lived in an apartment I too dried some washing on a small drying rack that sat under the balcony rail height. The only way it could have,been seen is by a neighbour leaning over their railing and having a good look. Others in the complex did the same. It wasn’t obvious and wasn’t flapping in the breeze for all too see. You had to make a bit of en effort to see it.

        Am in a townhouse now. We all have clothes lines in our courtyards. I could see my neighbours washing if I stood on my toes and had a look over the fence. To me, a balcony is much like a courtyard. It is your own personal space, accessed only by you. If your neighbours have to lean over or crane their necks to get a look i’d be concerned about my privacy. I dont see the problem if its not hanging from the balcony above, over the rail or strung from wall to wall.


        Hi all, I too have a clothes horse which I use generally on 1 or 2 days of the week on my balcony. I do not hang washing over the balcony rail and the  clothes airer is below the level of the balcony rail, but due to our balcony fencing/covering(not sure what you call it) being insubstantial as in you can see through gaps it could be considered visible from outside. Other lots use these air dryers but are not so visible from the street but very visible from my balcony. I just requested permission from the EC to use and it was permitted. And so it should with the cost of power going through the roof! I also believe there has been some levity regarding washing on balconies, I think JT posted about it some time ago? I have had an anonymous letter under my door in regards to this but have ignored as I believe it a petty attack. I could suggest you also write to the EC requesting permission.

        Cheers CBF

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