Stuff Thrown Down Balconies

In high rises, a recurring problem is that a few residents throw cigarette butts, food, empty cans, and other objects off their balconies or out of their windows. These objects then litter the grounds below as well as lower balconies and patios and can present a safety hazard for people walking below. These projectiles can also light a fire

The wind pushes objects that are thrown down toward the building and onto balconies and even windows. High winds can also send objects stored on balconies flying all about, break window, hit cars--not to omit pedestrians.

Here are examples of what can happen:

  • A woman leaves her newspaper on her patio table to answer her phone inside. As she is talking, she smells fire: Her newspaper, tablecloth, and cushion are already burning! Someone above threw a cigarette that had not been fully extinguished.

No Smoking sign

  • A resident has put her exotic bird out for fresh air in its cage on her balcony. After a few minutes, she hears urgent squawking from her bird. She runs back to the balcony: Some fluff at the bottom of its cage is burning. She douses both the traumatized bird and the cage and finds a cigarette butt at the bottom of the cage.
  • A resident is driving into the garage entrance when a beer bottle flies down and smashes into his windshield. Startled, he drives into the garage door and breaks it. His car is also damaged.
  • A baby sleeping in his pram under the spring sun on a balcony nearly misses being smothered when a wet pair of men’s shorts lands on his little face.
  • A resident is enjoying a good book in the coolness of early evening when a used condom suddenly lands on his lap. Difficult to explain to his wife!
  • A couple is standing on their balcony leaning against the guardrail. The man is suddenly hit over the head by a full can of pop accidentally dropped from a higher balcony. He had to go to the emergency room and the police was called to investigate.

Some owners have received board permission to install awnings over their patios and terraces. But they cannot do so because of these various projectiles.  As well, many residents on lower floors have to clean debris from their balconies and patios on a weekly basis.

Regular notices should be posted by managers asking for residents’ cooperation. When an explanation of the risks to other persons’ health and possessions is included, such notices are helpful.