Do Clotheslines Really Lower Property Value?

Just over a month ago, reader James noted that "in a growing number of residential developments in the USA, the local government or community covenants legally prevent residents from doing 'unsightly' things," including hanging wet laundry out to dry. Columnist Alex Beam of the International Herald Tribune came across similar findings while attempting to emulate Al and Tipper Gore's efforts to live a carbon neutral lifestyle:

I am seriously considering line-drying my washed clothes, which would further erode my standing in my very proper neighborhood.

Did you know that clothes dryers account for as much as 10 percent of home-energy use? "If ... New Englanders would use the clothesline or wooden drying racks, the savings would be enough to close several power plants," reports the pro-line- drying Web site Project Laundry List.

Alas, we do not live in a "right-to- dry" state, like Florida, where the legislature has granted homeowners broad rights to hang out their clothes.

Richard Monson, the president of the California Association of Homeowners Associations, told Legal Affairs magazine that a clothesline in a neighborhood can lower property values by 15 percent: "Modern homeowners don't like people's underwear in public. It's just unsightly."

We have to wonder what we've come to when states feel it necessary to pass "right-to-dry" laws... but we're more interested in Richard Monson's claim that clotheslines can have such a devastating effect on a home's value. We're not sure we buy that, and would love to hear from reader's who've either discovered the joy (and savings) of line-drying their clothes, or have experienced such discrimination against clotheslines themselves from "proper neighbors" or heavy-handed homeowners associations. Thanks to JiltedCitizen for pointing this one out at Hugg. ::International Herald Tribune via AutoblogGreen

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