Neighbor dispute can escalate

Real estate market / real estate news: People react particularly sensitively when you get too close to them. This also applies to real estate. Often there are bitter disputes in court because a property owner's neighbor has allegedly moved too close with his boundary planting or because the "demarcation line" is too small was violated in any other way.

Trouble at the property line

For its extra edition, LBS's Law and Taxes info service has collected nine rulings by German courts that address these issues. Sometimes it is the wall, sometimes the fence and sometimes the garbage container on the property line that causes trouble.

However, enclosures are not only there to protect those living behind them, but sometimes also to protect outsiders from damage. For example, if a dog is on the property. The Higher Regional Court of Stuttgart (file number 1 U 38/10) had to decide whether the sign "Hier wache ich! Enter at your own risk!" with the image of a dog is sufficient to make it clear to the visitor that he should under no circumstances open the garden door and enter the property. In this case, the doorbell could not be reached any other way. The judges were of the opinion that in the case of particularly aggressive dogs the above warning is not sufficient. Here for example the bite of the animal would have to be particularly stressed.

Traffic safety obligation for the sidewalk

As far as road safety is concerned, the sidewalk is generally part of the abutter's area of responsibility. Straight one in the winter comes it with snow, ice and slippery roads again and again to accidents. A house owner had created a special source of danger by leading a rainwater drainage from the roof directly onto the sidewalk (which is quite usual in the locality). Promptly, a passer-by slipped on the resulting ice slab in the early morning and injured himself. The house owner had not fulfilled his duty of care, ruled the Naumburg Higher Regional Court (case number 2 U 25/13). In addition to spreading the road, he would have had to point out the danger zone with a warning notice and possibly with lighting.

House demolition

Some property owners live in symbiosis with each other because their house walls are directly adjacent to each other, and in some cases even connected or interlocked. What actually happens when one demolishes his building and the (non-insulated) wall of the other suddenly becomes "naked"? it says? This had to be decided by the Dresden Higher Regional Court (file number 11 U 568/08). It decided that the person who caused the demolition, and thus the damage to the common boundary, would have to pay for professional insulation.

Parking on a meadow not intended at all for it

If a property is not sufficiently secured from the outside, then some contemporaries take quite a liberty. For example, parking on a lawn that was not intended for that purpose. In order to prevent this, a property owners' association decided to have three large boulders erected, which would have prevented driving on the prohibited area. A member of the community filed a lawsuit. The judges of the Oberhausen district court (case number 34 C 94/12) ruled in his favor. The placement of such massive stones is a structural change that can only be decided unanimously. Thus, the community was left with the alternative of planting bushes or erecting a fence.

The long-distance effect of one property on the other is not to be underestimated. For example, a homeowner felt disturbed because two 25-meter-high ash trees, which stood on public property, shaded his property. The case went all the way to the highest court, the Federal Court of Justice (case number V ZR 229/14). The lawyers decided that the two trees could remain because they did not constitute a serious and intolerable nuisance. Moreover, nature in the city is important for the quality of air and life.

A preceding "bad deed leads under circumstances to the fact that one deprives oneself of its own rights. This is what happened to a motorist who parked his car on the sidewalk without permission. Therefore, only a narrow passage of about one meter was left. Promptly, a seven-year-old child riding a bicycle began to lurch and caused damage to the vehicle. The owner demanded compensation from the parents, who had violated their duty of supervision. The Munich Local Court (file number 331 C 5627/09) did not see it that way. The person concerned had to blame himself for this, as he could have parked his vehicle properly.

Tall grasses do not fall under boundary planting regulations

Two neighbors in Bavaria got into an argument over a planting of elephant grass near the border. The reeds, which could grow several meters high, were a nuisance, the plaintiff said. He feared that lush roots could grow over onto his land and that the dried-out leaves could catch fire in the heat. The Regional Court Coburg (file number 32 S 23/09) considered both as not so dramatic. Moreover, elephant grass is not a tree, shrub or hedge, so the regulations on boundary planting do not apply.

Residents of an old people's home felt adversely affected by a dumpster house on the property line. The smell of garbage is coming from there, vermin is attracted and the lids of the garbage cans are not always closed properly by the staff. But the administrative court in Neustadt (case number 3 K 470/15.NW) left the garbage house in place. The building law requirement of consideration is not violated here. The construction of the building had been socially adequate.

If the boundary between two properties is not completely clear, then it can come already times to momentous errors. Here's how a landowner cut down several trees that interfered with the use of the property. What he didn't know: He had also cut trees from public property. Before the Oldenburg Higher Regional Court (case number 5 U 25/14), the issue was who would now have to be liable for it. The responsible civil senate was of the opinion that this was a case for the liability insurance of the person concerned, because here a general life risk had materialized.

Source: federal office of state savings and loan associations
Photo: obs/Federal Office of State Building and Loan Associations (LBS) / Tomicek

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