Grills in NYC
When my clients ask sellers’ agents whether they can put a grill on their outdoor space, the answer is never the same, and almost never accurate. Most people in NYC who have grills go by the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. If you want to know what you are legally permitted to do pursuant to New York City Fuel Gas Code §623 and the New York City Fire Code §307.5, which regulate grilling in NYC, keep reading. I warn you, though, NYC codes are quite restrictive. If you’d prefer not to know, so you can live by an ignorance is bliss philosophy, now is the time to stop reading.
Rules around propane grills differ depending on two variables: (1) size of tank, (2) type of building.
You are prohibited from using a standard propane gas barbecues with 20-pound liquefied petroleum gas containers apartment buildings or other residential buildings that qualify as a multiple dwelling (three or more residential units). You may not use or store standard sized propane gas barbecues on roofs, roof decks, balconies, rear yards or courtyards.
If your propane tank is smaller than 16.4 ounces, you can use it on a roof of an apartment building or multiple dwelling unit for a short time. However, you may not store it there.
A propane barbecue is permitted at one-family and two-family homes if the tank is no larger than 20 pounds.
You cannot use a propane tank on a balcony, regardless of size or type of dwelling.
You may use a charcoal BBQs on terraces and backyards but not on balconies or roofs. There must be at least 10 feet between the location of the grill and the building. Per NYC Fire Code, you must have immediate access to a fire extinguisher or garden hose when a charcoal grill is present.
According to New York City law, electric grills are permitted at all residential buildings. You can keep and use a charcoal grill on balconies, terraces, roofs and yards. The outdoor outlet needs to be sufficient to support a barbecue grill. Extension cords, if used, must be operated in conjunction with the grill manufacturer’s standards. Keep the grill at least 10 feet from anything that could catch fire.
Co-ops and Condos
Of course, nothing is simple in NYC. When you live in a co-op or condo, you may be subject to even more stringent rules than those laid out by NYC codes. If the type of grill you can use is paramount, and you don’t want to roll the dice on the building looking the other way, before you buy, you should have your lawyer check the building’s by-laws, lease or other building rules to learn whether barbecues are permitted on the subject unit’s outdoor space.
Digs Realty is a residential real estate brokerage in NYC that provides full service at a discount. The Digs Mission: Saving you money without compromising service. We give our home buyers up to 67% of our commission and charge our sellers up to 4% less than traditional brokerages.
Disclaimer: The above should not be relied upon as legal advice. Please contact your attorney for what is permitted in your specific situation.