If you own Lakeview single-family rental properties, you’ll need to decide whether or not to let your tenants have a grill. There are reasonable grounds not to allow grills on the property – they pose a serious risk of fire damage, injury and can leave greasy messes. However, such hazards should be weighed against your tenant’s ability to enjoy living in your rental home. Not allowing grills comes with its own set of potential problems, from feelings of frustration to a tenant who dismisses the landlord’s rules and brings a grill onto the property anyway. Don’t make any decision regarding whether or not to allow tenants to bring a grill without first looking at 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 landlords with enough reason to deny 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.
You could also refuse a tenant’s request to have a grill because of the mess they make. Charcoal grills leave behind ashes that must be properly washed out. And all grills become dirty from use, with grease and burned bits of food coating interior surfaces. If your tenant is not able to clean their grill properly, that could lead to 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 factor worth considering 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. Don’t be surprised to find tenants who secretly bring their own grills onto the property despite being told not to. If you’d rather accept that fact than put up a fight, you can always find a way to reach a compromise. You can find ways to allow a tenant to have a grill while keeping your property safe. 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.
Another significant part of the tenant relationship is establishing good communication. 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 put clear language in your lease documents and include information regarding how your tenant can properly clean up after a grill. If you don’t want to risk having grills on the property at all, you should articulate that in the lease, as well as the consequences of disregarding those terms. You can expect that some tenants will bring a grill onto the property, even if the lease says no. If they’re caught, however, your lease should state what steps will be taken to deal with the offense. After that, you simply have to enforce the terms of the lease.
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