Remember when our mothers and grandmothers always dried our clothes outside, even in the winter. I can still remember how the sheets smelled. When I lived in Spain for 12 years, practically everyone dried their clothes outside, even in the cities. Most apartment buildings had large airshafts in the center of them and all the units had windows that opened onto these spaces. From one side to the other we had lines, and there we dried our clothes. In all the time I lived there I never met anyone who owned a dryer. Certainly was an economical way to do it. I tried it at my house this summer and saw my electric bill go down $30!
Now it just so happens that this month I sold three homes in three different mobile home parks. The first had very loose deed restrictions and depended more on the good-will of the residents to keep everything in order. The park only had 14 homes in it so there was no problem. Most of the homes had clotheslines of various types.
The other two homes were in more strictly regulated subdivisions, though not extremely so. In one park you could have two poles with clotheslines strung between them. In the other you could only have the umbrella/fold-up type of clothesline. In both parks, the lines had to be behind the structures and out of sight to passers-by. In most of the subdivisions I sell in, whether conventional homes, villas, townhomes, or mobile homes, there are rules governing such things as antennas, boats, utility sheds, AND CLOTHESLINES.
In most cases, there is nothing behind the home except perhaps the backyard and clothesline of the home behind the first one. So usually no one is bothered by sheets floating in the breeze. With everyone trying to save energy and money, letting the Florida sun quick dry your clothes would seem to be a great idea.
But what about those homes that back onto a golf course, for example? The subdivision may not want golfers to see sheets, socks, towels, and your boxer shorts flapping away. So the question is, can they totally prohibit you from drying your clothes on a line on your property? Some people have told me that there are homeowner associations that have tried to do this.
However, one of my recent customers told me that his daughter was a lawyer. She told him that Florida, along with some other states, had laws that said that clotheslines could not be banned. I am NOT an attorney, so I went searching for a resource that you could use if you need it.
Here is a link you can click on that will let you see the law she was speaking about. Florida Statute. Title XI, 163.04 Of course, I cannot interpret it for you. That is a job for attorneys and judges. But nowadays, most laws tend to be pretty clear, so you can form your own opinions. If you wish to ban clotheslines or you prefer to allow them, this link could give you some guidance in regard as to what steps to take. If further clarification is needed, I suggest you speak with an attorney who specializes in real estate matters. There are plenty of those here in Florida who have helped write many of deed restrictions that we find here.
So in the end, I am not taking sides. I cannot say "yea or nay" on this matter. If it is a concern of yours, review the law, speak with your homeowners association, and seek legal advice from an attorney.
John Elwell - REALTOR
Bill Nye Realty, Inc.
Licensed in Florida