Question: Should we have a bylaw allowing residents to have a BBQ on their apartment balcony? If we have no bylaw and a BBQ becomes a fire hazard, will the Strata Committee Members be held liable?
Answer: You need to check what your contract states with regard to strata manager insurance commissions.
We have never heard of there being a positive duty to inform an owners corporation’s insurer of the presence of BBQs at the scheme and we can not see that the presence of BBQs is inherently more dangerous than gas cooktops or heaters. The owners corporation has a duty to notify an insurer of risks, however, in our view, BBQ use is quite standard and widespread.
That said, many schemes do have a by-law regulating (sometimes prohibiting) the use of portable BBQs on the balcony for safety and smoke drift purposes.
You should contact your insurer and confirm the specifics for your strata scheme and propose the implementation of a by-law to regulate safe use of BBQs and smoke drift regulation.
As to whether the strata committee may be sued in case of a BBQ accident, Section 260 of the Act provides protection from personal liability for members of the strata committee who act in good faith.
Please note that this article is provided for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional legal advice.