Reader Question: I live in a shared block of flats and would like to use a barbecue on my balcony this summer. Is this allowed?
If you are planning on organising a barbecue with friends on your flat balcony this summer, there are certain considerations that you should bear in mind.
Placing a barbecue on a balcony is not prohibited unless there is a specific municipal decree covering this.
People who live in a copropriété – under which the owners of individual flats in a building also share ownership of its communal areas – should check the rules for their apartment block.
Some règlement de copropriété owner agreements will state that barbecues are forbidden on balconies, or that they must be electric, for example.
The copropriété rules also often ban barbecues in shared areas such as gardens, courtyards or car parks, because of the fire risk and the smell of the smoke.
If it is allowed, however, avoid doing it too often if it may risk bothering your neighbours with fumes and smells. This could be seen as grounds for a ‘nuisance’ complaint, which can potentially lead to prosecution and fines.
In general, there is no French law dictating where barbecues may be placed, but individual communes or departments can ban the appliances in certain places such as woodland, or during particularly dry, hot spells, because of the risk of forest fires.
For portable barbecues that can be moved around, most local plan d’urbanisme development guidelines state that there should be a distance of at least three metres between the device and your property boundary.
If you want to install a built-in barbecue, you should consult the plan d’urbanisme for your commune to find out about the rules in place.