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However, it is not always possible to do what you would like. If you live in a condominium building, the use of your balcony is governed by the rules of your condominium and / or the common law.
In any co-ownership regulation, a balcony is considered a common area, even if is dedicated to the "private enjoyment" of the resident (s) of the adjoining apartment.
Before you put flower pots on a balcony, consult the regulations of co-ownership. If it is prohibited for aesthetic reasons, the trustee of co-ownership will be entitled to require from the concerned co-owner -or his tenant- to remove the pots. If one or the other does not comply with the requirement of the trustee, the co-ownership will send a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt for denaturing the aesthetic appearance of the building.
Attention: the bailiff can be called, and the costs will be borne by the co-owner or the tenant concerned. Count 200 €.
Even if no rule exists to stop you from gardening on your balcony, there still are strict regulations to follow. One is to put flowerpots and boxes inside the guardrails! This is to avoid the risk of falling on passers-by or on the occupants of the floors below.
In general, a balcony is able to support a weight equivalent to 350 kg / m². Some can support more weight. To be sure, ask the building trustee.
Choose medium size pots. In addition to the weight of the pot and of the earth, it must be taken into account that, once wet, the earth becomes heavier.
Secure the pots so they do not fall and fly off in a storm. Remember to hang the pots inside the railing!
Dead leaves and faded flowers should not fall on neighbors or on the sidewalk.
Place a saucer under your flowerpots on the balcony to prevent runoff along the facade and water passersby.
The flowers may be a cause of disturbance for your neighbors. This is particularly true with flowers whose scents are strong. Avoid installing plants that grow quickly for they might climb up (or down) the neighbors windows or get in the gutters. Ivy, for example, can proliferate to cover an entire facade and, by hanging on it, it could weaking it.
Also remember that flowerpots or shrubs should not hinder the opening of windows, nor obscure your neigbour’s view.
In case a pot of flowers falls from a balcony, and that an accident occurs, the responsibility of the resident will be engaged.
Similarly, if a infiltration on the wall of the building is caused by intensive watering, the resident will be considered responsible for any damage done to the condominium.
credit photo @Simona Sergi
(inspired by an article by Baticopro)