P.J. from Middlesex County, Massachusetts writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We have a six-unit condo with six decks all ground level. We have renters in just one unit who started a grill fire that burnt the lattice between two units. He never informed anyone. Can we ban renters from using outdoor cooking appliances without effecting the remaining homeowners? We will be repairing this and plan to send the owner the bill.
Mister Condo replies:
P.J., typically speaking, creating a set of rules specifically meant for renters is possible. However, reacting to a one-time event is a bit of a knee jerk reaction. To be honest, outdoor grilling close to a building is actually prohibited by local laws and fire codes in most places. Passing a rule to a specific class of people (in this case, renters) can also open up the association to possible discrimination suits. If you are insistent on passing this rule, check with your association attorney to make sure you follow the rules for creating a new rule and that you aren’t creating a possible discrimination liability. If you ban the renter from outdoor grilling, you can be sure they will not be happy and may start acting out in other ways or reach out to the local fire marshal who might just ban all outdoor grilling. Good luck!