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As soon as the days get longer and warmer it pulls people out into the open and the Germans favorite pastime is the barbecue. However popular barbecuing is, it is often enough reason for the neighbors to argue. Either because the smoke from the grill in the neighboring house pulls or because the party in the open air is simply too loud. But it is important to know what is actually allowed by the law and what is not. 

More generally, the principle of consideration is the highest principle, that means that everyone should take into account each other's needs. So it can not hurt to inform the neighbor about the barbecue and set up the barbecue so that the smoke does not blow into the house.

Especially when using a charcoal grill it almost inevitably leads to a strong odor nuisance of the neighbors, who do not have to accept this easily. The Land Immission Control Act protects them in North Rhine-Westphalia and Brandenburg insofar as the smoke must not be allowed to enter their living and sleeping areas.

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The advantage is the residents of detached single-family homes or terraced houses, as long as the distance to the neighbors is large enough.

Your own garden is like your own territory in which everyone can freely develop and enjoy their free time as he likes, unless it affects the needs of his fellow human beings, in this case the neighbors. On the other hand, neighbors must bow to the events of occasional celebrations unless the harassment is excessive. 

The district court in Munich has also dealt with such disputes and made a truly Solomon's verdict, which reads: "A general barbecue ban is just as inadmissible as a general barbecue permit. The neighbor must tolerate occasional grilling in the summer time. However, if there are significant impairments, even a grill ban is possible.

Barbecue on the balcony

The fact is: If you live in an apartment building in close proximity, you must not necessarily grill as often on your balcony or terrace as you like. So if you do not want a nice barbecue ends unexpectedly in front of the Kadi, should check the legal situation in good time.

How often can you grill?

The decisions taken in various court decisions in recent years are quite different. As a result, only approximate guidelines and recommendations can be mentioned here that do not replace individual case decisions. Consideration of the neighbors is paramount.

Judgments about barbecues

According to the AG Bonn 1997, it is ok to put the grill on its own balcony or terrace once a month from April to September - if you have informed your neighbors at least 48 hours in advance.

More often - twice a month - you can barbecue according to the LG Aachen in the part of the garden furthest from all neighbors.

The LG Stuttgart 1996, however, admits in his decision Grill friends on the terrace three barbecues or six hours annually.

Barbecue in the garden

According to the Bavarian Supreme Court, however, the garden of a condominium estate may be barbecued in any case, even on charcoal and up to five times a year.

Other courts (AG Hamburg-Mitte, 40 C 229/1972, LG Dusseldorf, 25 T 435/90), however, prohibit the barbecue with an open charcoal grill on the balcony completely. In this case, however, an electric grill or a lava stone gas grill can be used.

The house rules and the barbecue

The last word, however, has the landlord: He may prohibit the barbecuing in principle in the lease and in case of non-compliance even cancel the lease in writing. (LG Essen 2002)

Often forgotten: the noise protection

Cozy barbeques have it that they take place outside. Especially in connection with a celebration and several guests there is often a noise annoyance - an aspect that is often neglected in connection with the barbecue.

Here, too, however, the neighbors have the right to sleep - after 22 o'clock it should be much quieter and the solemnity to be relocated inside.

The judgment of the Higher Regional Court of Oldenburg (13 U 53/02) grants more freedom for the grill friend here and considers it appropriate to grill outside four times a year until midnight.

Is it allowed to grill in your own garden?

Homeowners with their own garden can of course launch the grill. It does not matter if it's a charcoal grill, gas grill or electric grill. However, there is no permit that allows unrestricted barbecue in your own garden. Homeowners must also comply with rules. It is more complicated for tenants in housing estates.

Every year spring comes with the barbecue season and you really just want to throw on the splendid specimen and enjoy a hearty piece of steak, sausage or other grilled food. With the start of the season, many neighborhood disputes come on the table. Barbequing causes more dispute in Germany than many think. There are no definite guidelines for barbecues without stress. Even court rulings from recent years are always different.

With a bit of consideration and understanding for the neighbors, barbecues with friends and family can be a pleasurable experience.

Legal regulations

Only in two federal states are foundations in the jurisdiction. All other states are free of legal bases and set from case to case to old or new judgments. NRW and Brandenburg regulate the barbecue in the season. The Landesimmisionschutzgesetz prohibits barbecuing when uninvolved persons are bothered by it. Usually these are the neighbors.

 The harassment is increasingly caused by smoke from the charcoal grill. If this penetrates into the neighborhood to an increased extent or even moves into the living rooms and bedrooms, the neighbor can complain and it comes to a fine. It goes so far that the police can be turned on.

Hint: The best option to avoid such problems is to cultivate a good conversation with the neighbors. A friendly relationship protects the grill friends. And who wants to strengthen the contact with the neighbors further invites this simply for a barbecue.

Barbecues for homeowners

The easiest way homeowners have it in their own home. The neighbors must tolerate barbecues within the law. It is therefore not allowed to cause any noise disturbance in the evening hours after 10 pm and during the day the grill must not cause any damage. At best, the barbecue area on the property as far as possible (and necessary) created by the neighboring property. Then little smoke pulls to the neighbor and there are no real reasons to complain. With gas and electric grills smoke falls away.

Far away from the smoke there are still judgments in which it is required that one withholds the number of barbecues. In the past there was even talk of a maximum of grilling a year.

Barbecue for tenants on the balcony

Most difficult is usually only the barbecue on the balcony. In residential complexes you are wall to wall with the neighbors. If you throw a charcoal grill on the balcony, the tenants and neighbors are quickly in the smoke. This does not have to be tolerated. Most house rules ban the charcoal grill for this reason. 

Gas and electric grill is not always allowed. If barbecuing is generally forbidden by the lease or house rules you have to stick to it. If in the lease or the house rules but grilling is generally allowed - so theoretically even with charcoal - should still be placed on electric or gas grill in the sense of Neighborhood ratio.


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