A question I am asked almost as much as what utilities are included, is, can I BBQ on the balcony? Here are the answers. Many people do have overhangs or another balcony above them.


Barbecue Season

Q. I am considering buying some space in the back of my co-op, which is on the lobby level of an 11-story building, and creating a 300-square-foot deck or balcony. I will have to negotiate the price and rules, but before I approach the board, I’d like to know the rules inNew York City for grilling on a deck or balcony in Manhattan.

Upper West Side, Manhattan

A. Happy Memorial Day. I can only imagine how eager you are to build your own deck and fire up that grill. Good thing for you, you might actually be able to fulfill your barbecue dreams.


New York City has strict rules about outdoor grilling, but it doesn’t entirely ban the practice. You can’t use propane, for example, but you can use a charcoal grill. You also need to grill on a noncombustible surface, like a fireproof tile. The grill cannot be within 10 feet of a combustible surface, including building walls, floors, doors and windows. Because you will be designing the space and choosing the building materials, you will be able to address these issues with a contractor.

The fire department is not a fan of grilling on a balcony, but your space might be permissible so long as it is not beneath an overhanging structure. Just be sure the grill is a safe distance from anything that could catch on fire.

“All you need is a nice little gust of wind and it will catch a curtain on fire in a heartbeat,” said Elliot Valentin, an inspector with the fire department.

Theoretically, the fire department could issue a violation for breaking barbecue rules. But the department generally does not make door-to-door surprise terrace inspections. So it’s unlikely you’ll actually get in trouble with the city, unless you cause a fire.

It’s more likely you’ll have trouble with a watchful co-op board. Approach your co-op thoughtfully. Reach out to the property manager with your request, attaching a copy of the city’s barbecue rules to your proposal. Explain that your design will comply with all city codes and will include safety measures like a fire extinguisher. If the building’s insurance goes up at all because of your arrangement, consider offering to pay the difference.

“Everybody wants to get their grills out,” said Richard Klein, a real estate lawyer. “If the shareholder is complying with the code, it should be safe, and the board shouldn’t have any problem with it.”

Article Via New York Times


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