You might be considering allowing your tenants to have a grill if you own Anacostia single-family rental properties. Grills present a significant risk of fire damage and injury and can produce tricky grease messes, so you may not want to allow them on the property. However, these risks should be weighed against the tenant’s ability to enjoy living in the rental property. The potential repercussions of banning grills range from annoyance to a disobedient tenant who brings a grill onto the property despite your requests. Before deciding whether to allow your tenants to have a grill, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons.
American culture heavily favors the use of barbecue grills and smokers. One is owned by up to seven out of ten adults in the United States. However, according to the National Fire Protection Association, grills start 10,600 home fires on average each year. Moreover, grill-related injuries send nearly 20,000 patients to the emergency room each year. The majority of these fires and injuries are brought on by gas or propane grills, the most common kind of grill available. Clearly, there are compelling reasons to forbid grills on your property just based on the risk of injury or fire.
A further drawback of allowing grills is the potential mess that they might create. All grills can leave greasy messes on a deck or patio, and charcoal grills produce ashes. It is possible for your tenant to damage the property if they do not know how to properly dispose of the ashes or clean their grill with the proper cleaners. Many surfaces are difficult to clean of grease, and ashes left outside in the wind can coat the outside of the house. Both of the messes are hard to clean up. In addition, the heat from a grill can melt vinyl siding, scorch wooden decks or railings, and cause additional damage. You might believe that telling your tenant they can’t have a grill on the property is the best course of action because it can be difficult to predict whether they will use it responsibly and clean up after themselves.
The provision of a grill to your tenants does, however, come with some benefits. Allowing grills will likely make your tenant happy and promote positive tenant relations, which is probably the most significant benefit. Because they’re so popular, permitting your tenants to have a grill may encourage them to stay in your rental home longer since they will feel at home in their accommodations.
It may also help to prevent lease violations when Anacostia property managers permit their tenants to have a grill. Even if you tell your tenant they cannot have a grill, there is a high likelihood that they will bring one onto the property and then try to hide it. Alternatively, you may want to consider allowing a grill with some common sense precautions. Electric grills, for instance, are safer and less likely to start structural fires than other grill types. This is due to the lack of open flames in electric grills. Even if it isn’t your tenant’s first choice, allowing them to use an electric grill could help you to keep good relations with them while bypassing the more serious risks associated with gas or charcoal grills. You could also consider educating them on grill maintenance and cleanup procedures. In the long run, you may discover that reaching an amicable agreement regarding the grills is better for you and your tenant, particularly if it increases the chance that they will adhere to the terms of their lease.
The decision to permit tenants to have a grill ultimately comes down to your rental property, personal preferences, and circumstances. What’s crucial, however, is that you build a strong relationship with your tenant, include direct language in your lease, and respond to their requests in a timely and professional manner, regardless of the course you ultimately take.
Originally published: March 12, 2021
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