If you own Allston single-family rental properties, you’ll need to decide whether or not to let your tenants have a grill. There are a few justifications to not allow grills on the property – they pose a serious risk of fire damage, injury and can leave greasy messes. Nonetheless, such hazards should be weighed against your tenant’s ability to enjoy living in your rental home. Forbidding grills comes with its own set of potential problems, from feelings of frustration to a tenant who disregards property policies and brings a grill onto the property anyway. If you’re sitting on the fence about whether or not you’re going to allow your tenants to have a grill, the best thing you can do is to review the pros and cons.
Barbecue grills are a very American way of life. As many as 7 out of every ten adults in the U.S. own one. But the National Fire Protection Association reports that grills are also responsible for an average of 8,900 home fires every year. Additionally, nearly 20,000 people end up in the emergency room every year because of grill-related injuries. So many of these fires and injuries are caused by gas or propane grills, which are also the most popular type of grill on the market.
These statistics provide grounds to restrict tenants from bringing a gas grill onto the property. As the owner, you have a responsibility to keep your property in a safe and livable condition. By allowing a grill on the property, you could put your property and tenants at risk from fire and fire-related injuries.
There’s also the choice to reject a tenant’s request to have a grill because of the mess they make. Charcoal grills leave behind ashes that must be properly cleared out. And all grills become dirty from use, with grease and burned bits of food coating interior surfaces. A tenant’s failure to correctly clean their grill could mean a greasy mess on the patio, deck, lawn, or other yard areas. Ashes need to be properly cleared because they can be blown around and stick to the house’s exterior surfaces leading to a mess that’s difficult to remove. Because you can’t know for certain whether a tenant will clean up after a grill, it would be wise to just ban grills on the property. Another detail to note is your building’s exterior. If you have vinyl siding, for instance, a grill could melt or damage the home.
Meanwhile, it won’t be easy to oversee tenants and keep track of who is going to bring a grill onto the property. There’s a big chance that a tenant will disobey restrictions regarding grills. If you’re willing to accept this, you can always come to a compromise with the tenant. Come up with something that will allow for both grill and safety. For example, electric grills are safer and far less likely to cause structural fires than other grill types. This is because electric grills do not have open flames. Though it’s not exactly what your tenant wants, an electric grill is a good compromise between tenant and landlord. It allows for grills without the unnecessary risks of using gas or charcoal grills.
You need to establish good communication with your tenant, as well. This can lead to you deciding whether or not your tenant can be trusted to have a grill or not. If you decide to allow any grill, you should, in clear and simple language, put it in your lease documents. Include information on how to properly operate and clean up after each use, so that your tenant can be informed. If having grills on the property isn’t really what you want, spell that out in the lease, along with whatever consequences await those who disregard the terms. There are tenants, however, who will still bring a grill onto the property, despite what the lease says. These tenants should be informed, through the lease, that there will be ramifications for those caught doing so. All that’s left to do is to enforce the terms of the lease.
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