When I first bought my townhouse, I thought I knew what the condo grill rules were. Turned out that not only was I wrong, but the fire code also changed within the next 2 years. Let’s talk about the rules and outdoor grilling alternatives for condos!
The first thing I should mention is that I’m not a fire code inspector, or a lawyer. I’m a long-time resident of a coastal condo community who likes outdoor grilling in good weather. Definitely double check with your town’s fire code inspector (possibly the fire department) and your homeowners association (HOA) for more information about the condo grill rules that apply to your town and property.
And one more note: this post contains affiliate links. This means I may receive a small commission if you buy through my link. You won’t pay any more if you use this link.
Why Condo Grill Rules are needed
In a simple word, it’s likely tied to fire. Big fires. While it wasn’t a grill fire, one morning I woke up to a nearby building engulfed in a 7 alarm blaze that ultimately destroyed or damaged multiple properties. Fire is no joke and can be catastrophic when multiple buildings are attached or close together.
When you live in a condo or other attached property, fire damages not only your unit, but can also do damage to your neighbors. I don’t want to even think about the other implications of fire. You really don’t want the mess of creating a fire with an open flame grill.
And the condo grill rules may change over time too. What was acceptable for years may no longer be possible. In many cases existing open flame grills will be grandfathered in, but there’s always the risk because those rules changed for a reason.
As with anything please consider the safety of yourself and your neighbors!
Outdoor Grilling Alternatives for Condos
Assuming you have an outdoor space (patio or balcony), your HOA may allow you to use an outdoor electric grill as an alternative to a gas or charcoal grill. And if they haven’t added that to the list as option, it’s worth asking them to consider it.
A neighbor of mine told me about the Weber electric grills as an option for outdoor grilling. In my community, open flame grills are now prohibited and electric grills are allowed. Because the smoke that an electric grill can create, you want to make sure you use it in an open space. An outdoor electric grill should not be used indoors.
Weber makes two of their smaller sized Q grills with an electric heating element that I’ve used for more than 5 years. They’re a great alternative that can work within the condo grill rules.
Weber makes a solid product. So while I wouldn’t necessarily compare a gas to an electric grill, for what’s available I’ve been very happy with the results from my Weber Q2400 electric grill. The results I’ve gotten my with electric grill for burgers, chicken, and even RIBS have satisfied my seasonal grilling needs.
A couple of downsides of electric grills.
One of the benefits of an electric grill is that you don’t need to refill the propane tank. For someone like me, lifting a heavy tank would have been an issue anyway.
Rain is a problem. Electric plus rain are a bad combination. Conversely wind plus flame are an even worse plan, so in that case electric wins.
Electric grills are not generally do not have the largest cooking spaces. Or if they do, they are either extremely expensive and need to be hard wired. The Weber electric grills are great for cooking for a few people. I can cook a few smaller things for one person or one type of dish for multiple. Cooking for a huge party of people could be a challenge, but if you’re creative about what you’re cooking (staggering your dishes), things can all work out well.
Final thoughts on Condo Grill Rules
Condo grilling rules are in place for a reason: the safety of your and your neighbors’ properties. They’re not there to simply annoy you. Safety is important. Fortunately outdoor electric grills are available as alternatives that allow you to have an awesome grilling experience.
Have you run into issues with your HOA about outdoor grilling? What solution worked?
Pin for later