Grills and Condominiums Don't Always Mix

The weather is getting warmer and for many that means taking the cover off of the barbeque or grill. I had my first taste of steaks on the grill last night actually and boy, were they tasty! Grills can cause some major problems, however, when it comes to condominium associations or apartment complexes.

Having insured condo association and unit owners since 1982, Brownstone Insurance is asked quite often whether having a grill on a unit owner's deck or rooftop is in violation of the insurance policy.

Some unit owners call us because they already have a grill and another unit owner is upset with them. Some unit owners call us and ask us to go out to their complex and instruct another unit owner to get rid of their grill.

The insurance answer is that having a grill is not in violation of any insurance policy, unless there is a specific exclusion written into your policy, so check with your building manager or association before doing anything.

Common sense should come into play with this scenario though. It's never a good idea to have an open flame on a small balcony or to store propane tanks there. In a condo or apartment building setting, all it takes is one misjudgement by one unit owner or renter to endanger the lives of many.

Any condo association or building management company wants to decrease hazards and risks, not increase them, so it's quite possible that your building may prevent the usage of grills by writing it into the by-laws.

So while it may not be against any building by-laws or insurance policy terms, grilling on a balcony or rooftop is just not good common sense. It jepordizes your property and the property of those around you.

"Use your head. It is your best insurance policy sometimes." - Glenn Montgomery, Brownstone Insurance Principal