Grilling outside is a great way to both get fresh air, as well as keep some of the heat out of your kitchen. But if you live in a condo, your HOA (Home Owner’s Association) might prohibit grills. A large property would be a terrible thing to experience.
There are options that could keep you within your HOA rules and still enjoy a fun way to cook.
One quick note to keep in mind. While this article is written from my personal experience as a long-time coastal condo community resident, I’m not a fire code inspector or a lawyer. Double check with your Homeowner’s Association and local fire code inspector, who may be part of the fire department more information about the condo grill rules apply to you.
Why condo grill rules are needed
Condo grill rules are important for one simple reason, fires. And fires in attached living conditions can be devastating. Having a close encounter with large building fires, regardless of the cause, will give you a new appreciation for why fire prevention rules are no joke.
Living in a condo, attached townhouse, or houses that are very close together means multiple homes can experience smoke, water, or flame damage in a blink. The moments waiting for the flames to be contained are intense. You really don’t want to risk starting a fire using an open-flame grill.
If you think you’ll just be careful, one thing to consider is that insurance policies may not cover damage caused by breaking the rules. That would turn into a whole new mess if something unfortunate were to happen.
It is also possible for condo grill rules to change over time. The guidelines acceptable today may not be allowed in the future. If the rules change, you may find that existing open flame grills will be grandfathered in. And even if the grill is grandfathered in, those rules were changed for a reason so there is always a risk.
You need to do your part to keep your home and your neighbors’ homes safe. You’ll hope they would do the same for you.
Outdoor grilling alternatives for Condos
Assuming you have an outdoor space (patio or balcony), your HOA may allow you to use an electric grill as a non-flame alternative to a gas or charcoal grill. If they haven’t mentioned electric grills, try asking them to consider it.
Electric grills may not be something you previously considered researching and there are a few out there. The grills sold as outdoor grills generally create smoke so you must use them in an open space.
Weber, a well known grill manufacturer of grills, has two outdoor electric grill options in its’ Q-series: the Q1400 and Q2400. While electric won’t be superior to a gas or charcoals grill, it makes grilling possible for a condo with outdoor space.
If your HOA is also concerned about the smoke from grills getting into other homes, there are a few smokeless options that will still allow you grill outside. In tightly packed condos, the smoke from your balcony or patio may float into the bedroom of one your neighbors.
A couple of downsides of electric grills.
Electric grills means not having to refill a propane tank or spend money installing pipes for natural gas. It also means you can grill in windy conditions that would be dangerous for open-flame grills.
There a few downsides with electric grills to consider.
Rain and electric is a bad combination. While grilling in the rain isn’t a fun experience, the addition of electricity and water could become dangerous. All grilling generally has some weather based limitations, be it rain or high wind. Just remember to keep an eye on the weather while you’re planning your meals.
Electric grills generally have smaller cooking spaces. If you’re used to having a large propane grill, the grill space on an electric is generally smaller. If there are larger electric grills available, they need to be hard-wired in order to safely support electricity needs. Electric grills are great for cooking for a few people. Cooking for a large party solely on an electric grill would be a challenge, but given your limited entertaining space, it may be a problem you don’t run into often. Or get creative with the meal you plan. Stagger your prep and cooking, using a combination of dishes you can make in advance.
A quick review of condo grill rules
HOA Condo grilling rules are set for one important reason: to keep you and your neighbors’ safe from fires. They’re purpose is to keep you from enjoying your outdoor space in nice weather. Fire prevention is important and it’s everyone’s job. Fortunately there are outdoor electric grill options you can discuss with your HOA so you can have an awesome grilling experience.
Are you having issues with your HOA with outdoor grilling? Or if you already resolve it, what solutions worked?