Having a deck, balcony, or a patio is a fantastic amenity to have in the summer months. Whether it’s gardening, grilling, or just enjoying some time in the sun, there are a few key rules all owners should abide by to ensure the safety and security of the residents living below you and around you. Remember, every Association is different, so it’s important to check your building’s Rules and Regulations to make sure you’re abiding by the proper protocol.

No carpeting of any kind should be placed on your balcony or patio. Most cement or concrete surfaces have a protective membrane coating, and adding a welcome mat or outdoor carpet shortens the lifespan of your protective topcoat. These types of coverings also hold moisture, which can warp your wooden deck, create organic growth, or stain your concrete

Nothing should ever be thrown or swept from your balcony. This includes shaking out rugs, sweeping leaves and debris, and especially throwing cigarette butts. Cigarette butts are a huge fire hazard, and can land on the patio umbrellas or deck chairs of the units below. Not only is it inconsiderate to litter onto your neighbors below, cigarette butts are also unsightly and create extra work for the maintenance or landscaping professionals who service your property. Please always be sure to safely dispose of your cigarette butts in a fire-safe receptacle on your own balcony or patio. 

Please take care when gardening outside and watering your planters or window boxes. Most associations require a pan or drip-tray to catch any excess water so you don’t rain dirty water onto your neighbors below.  If you are going to water your balcony planters, please allow them to sufficiently drain before you hang them over the rails. Depending on your association they may prohibit planters that attach to the exterior of the balcony railings, or anything that extends beyond the edge of your balcony at all. (P.S. this rule usually extends to laundry, towels, holiday lighting or other materials hung over balcony rails, too).

Grills: The policy on grills varies widely from association to association, so be sure to read your rules carefully! In almost all condo or high rise buildings Charcoal or wood burning grills, chimneys, open fire pits, and patio heaters are expressly prohibited. These devices may cause hot embers to escape and potentially ignite fires. This is a very serious issue and must be observed at all times, as it poses a safety risk to the rest of the Association. Gas or propane grills are frequently allowed, but they must be safely secured in the event of high winds. Unit Owners and Renters/Occupants who install and use approved barbecue grills must always ensure they are being used safely. Check your individual building’s rules for more detailed info!

Balconies are not the same as bathrooms! While Fido or Fluffy might enjoy sunning themselves on your terrace or balcony, this is not the place for them to relieve themselves. Training pads are usually frowned upon (if not prohibited entirely), and allowing pets to urinate or defecate on balconies/terraces will usually result in Violation Letters or fines. If you do use a training pad please be sure to bring it inside immediately, as they can easily blow away and land on other balconies or pedestrians below (yuck). Also pets should never be housed or left unattended outside.