Summer is in the air, even if the weather doesn’t really seem to be fully cooperating just yet! But before you start setting up your condo’s balcony for some summer fun, let’s look at what you should consider in a condo setting. Because balconies are considered “exclusive use common element areas”, they are subject to the condo’s governing documents, municipal bylaws, local codes, and more.
Part of ensuring that residents are following regulations such as these means educating them as to what these rules are and why they’re important. To help Boards and Property Managers get the message out in their communities, we’ve included free templates (including printer- and bulletin-friendly options!) on safe balcony use that may be shared with residents.
Be sure to read on to see what you can (and can’t) do on your condo’s balcony this summer, so you can keep it fun without causing any unpleasant surprises or consequences!
📩 Download your free template(s) now!
Take balcony safety seriously this summer to keep your community safe and your condo’s outdoor space fun and problem-free! We hope the above information and templates will help you stretch summer to the max, even if it’s in a cozy spot.
Cheers to a comfy summer on your condo balcony!
Summer Set-Up and Safety on Your Condo Balcony:
Keeping It Safe + Neighbourly
Have a Seat: Seasonal Furniture
Enjoying warmer days from your balcony can be fun and relaxing, especially for those with amazing views! It’s also a great extension of your indoor living space, which can be pretty tight and constricting for many condo residents. Before you start setting up your space, be sure to check your condominium’s governing documents to see what’s permitted on balconies.
Luckily, most condos will allow residents to place some seasonal furniture out there… but don’t get too creative!
A recent CAT case considered whether a resident’s creative interpretation of “seasonal furniture” (which was “repurposed” gym equipment”) was acceptable. The corporation did not have a definition/description of “seasonal furniture” in its governing documents, so the CAT took to google to search “seasonal furniture” and found that the results (tables, chairs, etc.) were not in line with the resident’s interpretation - and therefore, was required to remove the structure.
For those looking to set up their seasonal furniture, here are some tips to consider:
Where will you store the furniture over winter? Many condos don’t allow storage on balconies, so you may have to use a locker or external storage facility.
Is there a significant safety risk of the furniture blowing away in high winds or a storm? Consider getting heavier furniture and/or tying it down to a permanent fixture.
Avoid flammable furniture! Unfortunately, some careless residents will smoke on their balcony and flick their cigarettes over the sides… what will happen if one of those hits your furniture, and how can you prevent it from turning into a serious situation and safety risk?
Plants to Liven Up the Concrete Jungle
We get it, plants can really liven up a space, and they’re especially nice on balconies! Just be sure that your plant paradise doesn’t become a real annoyance for the neighbours directly below you. Residents who choose to enjoy plants on their balconies must take the correct precautions to ensure that plant care does not cause problems for others. To prevent excessive water from draining to the units below, plants pots should have a tray/container under them when watering tol stop the water from flowing down to other units.
Fire Risk: Smoking & BBQs
Smoking On Balconies: Balconies are considered “exclusive use common areas”, and are often subjected to the same rules and regulations as the other common areas in the building - which may mean no smoking is allowed! Some corporations are very specific about whether smoking is permitted on balconies, so be sure to check with your property management. If smoking isn’t allowed, residents must respect that rule to avoid dealing with larger problems, such as warnings from management and possible future legal action.
For corporations that do allow smoking on balconies, residents should be mindful and respectful of high-density living and the risk and responsibilities associated with it. It is never acceptable to litter by tossing a cigarette over the balcony (in fact, nothing should ever be tossed over the balcony!), but it is especially dangerous in a condo because it can easily find a nearby balcony or area to land on and ignite a fire. We are all responsible for each other’s safety, and failing to take this responsibility seriously can lead to major consequences.
Should you choose to smoke on your balcony, you must ensure that cigarette butts are properly put out and disposed of so they do not pose a fire risk to any person or their property (or end up littering the community space!).
BBQs: Due to the difficulty of complying with propane tank regulations (they’re not allowed in elevators, and there’s many rules about where they may be stored in relation to windows and doors), propane tanks are usually prohibited on balconies. Therefore, chances are you will not be permitted to have a propane BBQ on your balcony. Many condos also have a general prohibition regarding cooking on balconies, so be sure to check with property management before you set up any cooking facilities on yours!
Avoiding fires is everyone’s responsibility! Not only is the risk of ignition a huge risk to people’s safety, but it can cause extensive damage to the corporation that is extremely expensive to repair. This cost comes out of maintenance fees - so one owner’s lack of consideration can mean that everyone incurs a hefty bill… and no one wants that. Be mindful, respectful, and responsible if you choose to smoke on your balcony, and ensure that any cigarette butts are always property disposed of in a manner that does not pose a fire risk.
Don’t Be That Noisy Neighbour
There’s nothing quite as fun as partying in the summer, and there’s also nothing quite as annoying as having to listen to your neighbour partying, either.
Condo living is a high-density endeavor, and being a good neighbour means being respectful of how those around you are affected by what’s going on in your unit… such as whether you’re throwing a loud and rowdy party inside and on your balcony for all to hear.
In Ontario, The Act states that all residents are entitled to a reasonable enjoyment of their property, and your partying may interfere with that. If residents complain to security and/or property management, be ready to receive some unpleasant warning letters about how your party upset residents.
If you repeat the offense and continue to throw noisy parties, the corporation may even escalate the matter and seek legal action to get a compliance order against you - which will come at a high cost and eliminate any fun. There are also area-specific noise restrictions to consider (the times that your city/town/etc. allows noise - or some noise - to occur during), and breaching those may lead to a visit from an uninvited guest: your not-so-friendly police officer.
So let’s keep partying respectful to neighbours and avoid any unpleasant situations with property management or the police by ensuring that noise does not interfere with other units, especially if you’re considering hosting guests on your balcony this summer!
Keeping your condo community safe is everyone’s responsibility, and the Board/Property Management needs your help. If you see anyone that is engaging in dangerous activity or not following the rules, be sure to get in touch with security, property management, the board, or any other appropriate person(s) to report the issue. They will look into the matter and be sure to take the appropriate actions as soon as possible in order to keep the condominium and its residents safe.
Condo balcony safety, balcony setup tips, seasonal furniture for balconies, balcony storage solutions, fire safety on balconies, smoking regulations on balconies, BBQ regulations on balconies, balcony plant care, noise restrictions in condos, balcony party etiquette, reporting balcony safety issues, condo balcony guidelines, safe balcony practices, balcony security measures.