A balcony is a great place to spend an summer afternoon, eat a nice dinner or  enjoy a beautiful sunset with a favourite drink.

Your balcony is a private-use common element. You don't own it. Therefore, there are restrictions on what you can do on your balcony and what you can't.

Some condos will not allow you to drill holes in the exterior walls or on the concrete slab on top of your balcony and forbid flower boxes that extend over the railings.

Read the rules about laying carpet, tiles or wood flooring on the balconies. Usually, any kind of antenna, enclosures and drying clothes is forbidden.

Usually, aside from seasonal furniture and plants, you cannot store anything on your balcony. No old sofas, bicycles, pieces of plywood or storage containers are allowed.

Potential fire hazards and odours are two good reasons why barbecuing on a balcony may be prohibited in the condo declaration or in the rules.

Most municipalities allow barbecues on balconies but a few don't.

Strong odours along and smoke will definitely drift into your neighbours’ open windows and their smoke detectors may be activated. You will not be thrilled to get a bill for $1,200 or more if the building’s fire alarm is activated and the fire trucks show up.

There are also fire codes concerning the transporting of propane through a high-rise building. Propane tanks and cylinders must be stored in a safe place away from dwellings. Propane cylinders must be transported in a service elevator, or when there is no service elevator, the person must use the passenger elevator alone to transport the cylinder.

The building’s insurance coverage may forbid propane cylinders from being transported through the common areas.

Glass panels
I am not a big fan of balconies using glass panels. They look good as long as everyone has only flowers, plants and neutral coloured seasonal furniture on them but unfortunately, they are also used as storage areas.

I also think that you lose your privacy with glass railings.

High winds
Depending on where your balcony is located, and how high up you are, strong winds can blow plastic chairs and tables, table coverings, pillows, plants and almost any light materials off your balcony and onto the street below.

It is wise to keep the soil moist. On a very hot day, the sun can cook the dry peat moss and plant material in the metal planter until it begins to smoulder.

This is what's left of a balcony after a discarded cigarette butt caused a fire inside a plant pot at one Fort York condo. Luckily, no one was hurt.  (Facebook/Vicki Trottier)

Smokers often drop their butts in planters thinking that they make good ashtrays. They don't.

Obnoxious upstairs neighbours

Obnoxious upstairs neighbours who throw their lit cigarette butts, used condoms, candy wrappers and garbage overboard and use water to rinse their dog's urine and feces down onto your balcony are extremely upsetting.

It is very common to have discarded lit cigarette butts land on balconies. This is very dangerous as they burn holes in outdoor furniture and start fires.

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