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Saturday, Apr 19, 2014
Lifestyle Stories

Can condos ban clothes drying on balconies?


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Q: Can our condominium association ban the drying of clothes on a rack on our balconies? Our documents say no clothing, bedding, towels or similar items should be air-dried in any outdoor area. A.M., Indian Shores

Answer: FS 163.04(2) is the source that you need to read. It says, “No deed restrictions, covenants, or similar binding agreements running with the land shall prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources from being installed on buildings erected on the lots or parcels covered by the deed restrictions, covenants, or binding agreements.”

The board needs to review this statute and, if necessary, have the attorney render an opinion. The board may establish certain policies and rules for the use of drying racks or other methods of drying clothes on the balconies or other areas. There may be a schedule approved, such as drying is only allowed on Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. (Keep in mind this is only a suggestion.)

FS 163 is the Florida energy code and does overrule document restrictions. I would suggest you send the board a letter referring to this statute requirement and recommend they review and create a policy for the use of drying racks.

Q: Our condominium documents do not permit dogs or cats in any unit. The board discussed revising the documents to allow indoor cats, which has been done successfully by nearby associations. The board refused to consider this any further when they were advised that allowing indoor cats but not dogs would be illegal discrimination under Florida administrative code. Is this true? R.R., Clearwater

Answer: When people are offended, they start throwing around words they think fit the situation. Discrimination is one of those words.

If you go by the federal and state laws, you will find that discrimination against dogs is not illegal because it’s not listed as one of the illegal discrimination violations. It’s easy to find the few terms that are violations, including discrimination against race, nationality, sexual orientation, age and disability. Dog lovers and dog haters do not have protection under the federal law or state laws. Of course there is one exception, and that is the service dogs and other pets found under the Americans with Disability Act.

I suggest that the board seek an opinion from the owners if they want to allow house cats. If the majority agree, then all the board has to do is establish a board policy that they will not enforce the no-pet policy. The board does not need to modify or amend the documents; all it has to do is establish a policy that says it will not enforce the documents that restrict all pets.

You may have an uprising from some owners who do not want pets in the building, and in future years a board may reverse the policy. It would be advisable if the board seeks an opinion from the association’s attorney.

Richard White is a licensed community association manager. He does not offer legal opinions; any other questions and comments concerning association operations can be sent to Richard White, 6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd., No. 201, Winter Haven FL 33884-4115; or email camquestion@cfl.rr.com.

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