Q. Recently a dispute arose in our community regarding clotheslines and drying clothes outside the unit, such as on the balcony. We have rules about this in our documents, but someone on the Board told me that there is a law granting certain rights regarding clotheslines because of energy savings. Can you provide some clarity on this?
A. There is such a law that the association needs to consider before enforcing these rules. Florida is one of the few states that has enacted legislation dealing with clotheslines and other renewable energy resources. Section 163.04(2), Florida Statutes provides that “[a] deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or similar binding agreement may not 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 restriction, covenant, declaration, or binding agreement.” Before attempting to enforce any rules in your documents with respect to clotheslines, you should review this matter with your legal counsel and design a strategy that protects both the association and the property owner’s legal rights.