Adeje bans clothes drying and barbecues on balconies and terraces in the municipality

Update 30 June: There is clarification on these bylaws now from the Ayuntamiento’s governing socialist group. With regard to washing lines, the council says that there were muncipal measures about this previously, but they were ambiguous. Specifically, what is to be prohibited is the hanging of clothes or clotheslines over balcones facing a street. So, within balconies themselves it is permitted provided only that the clothes are not visible from the street.

As far as BBQs are concerned, the council say they have more complaints than might be imagined from people who consider the smell and noise emanating from BBQs on balconies and terraces in communities to be a nuisance. This bylaw is very clear: residents with a balcony or terrace within a community will not be allowed to have BBQs on them.

The new regulations will now go through the usual 30 day public exhibition process for comments or objections before becoming municipal law.

Original post 5 April:  Adeje Ayuntamiento has approved a bylaw banning the hanging out of clothes to dry, and barbecues, on terraces and balconies on complexes in the municipality where the washing and barbecues are visible from the public highway. The vote was not passed unanimously, and the governing group had to vote it through in the face of strong criticisms from opposition parties. There was particular complaint about the banning of clothes lines and racks given that this will clearly disadvantage residents of the borough, who could now be fined for breaching the local law. The reason given for the bylaw is an aesthetic one, with the council reporting many complaints on the matter. Two posts in one night about new reasons for fines …


  1. Fortunately I do not live in Adeje but I think they may have breached Article 8 of the Human Rights Convention which Spain has signed up to and the last European Union Treaty established as EU law by a curious back door route. All courts in the EU have enforce any law after checking it against the convention. This is Article 8
    “Right to respect for private and family life
    1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
    2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

    I would like to see how hanging washing out in your own property complies with paragraph 2! Barbacues I can understand – potential fire risk therefore public safety but drying your clothes in a sunny climate – no!

  2. Have you got a link to this in Spanish please

  3. Author

    It’s a bylaw based on complaints from those residents themselves … and I don’t think that human rights legislation could be used at all, really. I think it’s only in the UK that that sort of human rights argument is used in that way. I think the idea is that one can, anyway, dry clothes in a garage, or in a tumble dryer.
    Putting a bit of meat on the bones, it’s intended for all balconies and terraces on complexes viewable from the road, so trying to avoid the poor-tenement type image that larger complexes give an area. This is initial approval, so one can hope that it never actually gets implemented, but it looks likely given that the incumbent governing party is there for the duration and was able to force this vote through.

  4. Hi Janet

    Only way around this in any case would be to ensure there is a rule in the Community Rules banning washing etc on balconies. We had a similar problem and as President of the Community steered a rule through solely for this. Nothing is worse from the road washing on display to the public especially where most complexes (if of course the writer is talking about complexes) have roof terraces where usually washing machines are based in trasteros and therefore washing can be pegged or hung out to dry on the roof terrces out of sight of the public.



  5. Author

    There is such a rule. All clothes drying racks are the size they are because that’s the size that’s allowed under the law as it is. The problem is when a raised washing line is suspended from hooks or the like, or when a balcony doesn’t have an enclosed wall but railings, so the rack is visible through them. This is all covered by the law, but each community will enforce its rules individually. Adeje has obviously had enough and decided to make a municipal stand against the phenomenon.

  6. I have a flat on a residential complex in Adeje and most owners “hide” their washing behind the walls of their terrace. However I have seen one or two owners who wreck the seaview of other neighbours by stringing sheets on the roof terrace. Hope someone in our complex will know about this new Adeje law.

  7. It’s not just the washing though is it? It’s the satellite dish, bikes, dog kennel, cupboards and other paraphernalia which seem to come tumbling on to the terrace!

  8. What is the difference in seeing a toldo (sun shade) or bed sheets? I appreciate that seeing someones ‘smalls’ is not always pleasent to see, especially if they belong to an overly large person! But lets face it its not every day that one washes their personal attire. Whoever passed this law must have a interest in a laundry service. Washing and drying is an activity like emptying basura’s. It has to be done. I think what the authority should be more interested in tidying up waste land and cleaning walk ways more frequently. They can be an eye sore. Get real Adeje!

  9. Great idea ! Hope Arona follows suit!

  10. I predict that this law will be as successfully policed as the law banning dogs from fouling footpaths!

  11. Exactly my thoughts Gary

  12. Hi Janet – sorry but the Spanish Govt has been hauled before Strasbourg quite a few times for breaching Article 8 and lost. All courts in EU countries now have to interpret all laws in line with ECHR as a result of the Lisbon Treaty or be in breach of their EU membership, something the Spanish judiciary are slowly getting their heads around along with all other EU countries courts. Use of the convention is not a UK thing but Europe wide.

    As other commentators have pointed out, why just washing? Where does it stop – ugly, fat bellied tattooed, cigarette smoking, semi naked men and women etc.

  13. Author

    Won’t work John. It’s a bylaw, and doesn’t stop anyone doing their washing, just not stringing up lines of washing in view of the public highway, as is already part of the community regulations that everyone in a comunidad has signed up to anyway when they signed their escritura … and the same applies to “nuisance” caused by BBQ smells …
    No-one has a human right to spoil the view of others when they have alternatives to drying their wet clothing, and it doesn’t deprive them of “the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.” Moreover, article 8 continues that “here shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law (and the bylaw is in accordance with the Law of Horizontal Division) and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

  14. Personally I don’t see why people need to erect washing lines on balconies when the floor standing dryers do a perfectly good job of drying washing and they are out of sight. Just come back from our apartment and have to say there is nothing worse than walking around different areas seeing rows of washing on show! It looks tacky, tasteless and scruffy!

  15. Well said Craig. First time we have agreed. Nothing looks worse than clothes blankets etc hanging over balconies. Our community banned it from the start.

  16. God yeah first time for everything! It’s not like back here in the UK where you need a huge washing line and pray it stays dry long enough for your washing to actually dry! Ha ha.

  17. Hi i would like to know where you can actually get those balcony or concertina type washing lines i have seen on balconies and under windows in tenerife and gran canaria. As cant find them in england and would love to be able to put one at the top of our steps when weather in clement as live on first floor flat,

  18. Author

    I should have thought that most ferreterias in the south would sell them, like Chafiras in Las Chafiras and Adeje, or Goyo in Armeñime, but if not, then almost certainly they’d be in Leroy Merlin in the north.

  19. Hi Marian, in the UK you can get 20 different kinds of them from Argos.

  20. So is there a final legal ruling stating that washing cannot be hung over balconies if it can be seen from the street in the Alicante region

  21. Author

    I have no idea about Alicante, I’m afraid. This post is about Adeje, which is a municipality within the Santa Cruz de Tenerife province of the autonomous region of the Canaries. In other words, it’s a council bylaw, not a “law”, so you’ll need to check with your local ayuntamiento.

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