What Community Laws Say About Fireplaces, Porch Sofas and More


Students moving to an off-campus home should be aware of city codes that indoor outdoor furniture, grills, fireplaces, and trash too close to a building can lead to citations. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo editor

For students who live off campus, be careful: improper disposal of garbage, outdoor furniture, and grills too close to a building can lead to problems.

Moving from a dorm to an off-campus house or apartment comes with more responsibilities for tenants. It is important to be aware of city codes regarding housing and to know the rights of tenants, said Frank Kremer, staff attorney at Student Legal Services.

“Things like indoor furniture outside, grills or other fire hazards too close to a house or apartment building, garbage in the yard, things like that” , Kremer said. “It could be things the tenant is quoted for because the tenant had control over them. “

Owners are required under Ohio Law to make sure rental properties are safe and livable for tenants, said Melissa Lenz, lawyer with the Legal Aid Society of Columbus.

“Generally, landlords have a duty under Ohio law to ensure that the rental home is safe and livable,” Lenz said.

According to Columbus Coded prescriptions, upholstered furniture such as sofas, armchairs and mattresses cannot be kept outside on porches or balconies unless the area is fully enclosed. The city banned porch sofas in 2005, arguing they were a fire hazard and attractive targets for rioters to set on fire.

Fireplaces must be at least 10 feet from homes when in use and cannot be used on days an air quality alert has been issued, according to the Ohio Fire Code. In the same way, grills should be used at least 10 feet from buildings housing more than two families.

The waste must be deposited in the wheeled containers provided to the houses and duplexes by the city or in the dumpsters, according to the site of the city of Columbus. Both types of bins are emptied once a week, and residents can get back to their day of garbage collection by research on the City of Columbus website.

On the scheduled pick-up day, residents with a personal container must put the container near the side of the road at 6 a.m., according to the City of Columbus website. Waste collectors will not collect waste piled up around the container – it must be inside. Failure to keep properties without a Recycle Bin may result in a citation.

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