As soon as the first rays of sunshine develop noticeable strength in early summer, the balcony is freshened up for summer. With the grill as the most important piece of furniture in a prominent position. If your neighbors are already expressing dissatisfaction with these initial preparations, it is probably time for you to find out exactly what is and is not allowed when barbecuing on the balcony before you start arguing with your neighbor. In the following article you will find out what needs to be considered when barbecuing on the balcony.

No legal advice

We would like to point out that we are not providing legal advice with this article. We therefore recommend engaging a lawyer to clarify open questions.

Grilling on the balcony by law: there are specific and more general regulations

Annoying, but essential for a political system in which as many people as possible want to live freely. Even an innocent leisure activity such as grilling on the balcony is regulated by regulations. For residents of a rented apartment, this is sometimes already done in the rental agreement itself.

Barbecue after lease

Before you curtly snipe your neighbors, you should first take a close look at your rental agreement. According to a judgment by the Essen Regional Court in 2002 (read at ), landlords are allowed to ban barbecues in tenancy agreements (or in house rules to be regarded as part of the tenancy agreement). The prerequisite is that it is a rental apartment in an apartment building. Of course, such a ban will only be able to stand up in court if the individual balconies are in a position relative to one another that makes it possible for the smells of “barbecuing” to be a nuisance at all.

If you violate this ban on barbecuing, you could even be fired. However, it must then be a case of a repeated violation despite a warning.

If you have been grilling on the balcony without any complaints (and without complaints from neighbors), and your landlord suddenly gets the idea that he can’t stand the smell of roasted meat, and you neither in the rental agreement nor in the general contract conditions If you find something in the rental agreement or in the house rules about a barbecue ban that was already included when the rental agreement was concluded, things look a little different. In principle, a landlord cannot simply decide “out of the blue” that from now on he will regard barbecuing as a nuisance. And effectively prohibit you from using part of your rented space in the future in the way you were previously allowed to use this space.

Grilling as an unacceptable nuisance to others

However, even without a ban on barbecuing in the rental agreement, it is not a matter of course that you can use your balcony for barbecuing. There is no such thing as a “barbecue on the balcony law”, but the free activity of an enterprising citizen in a community that is concerned about justice always reaches its limits where this free activity disturbs other citizens.

Who is obliged to comply with a limit or endure a restriction in such cases must be determined by balancing the conflicting interests. In English: by judicial decision if the citizens cannot manage this compensation themselves.

Many laws and ordinances regulate the restrictions that neighbors have to observe with regard to their behavior towards other neighbours. Some of them can also be applied to “barbecuing on the balcony” and have already been used to justify court decisions. Depending on the status of the parties involved, reference was made to the State Immission Control Act of North Rhine-Westphalia in the judicial decision-making process. Or on the Home Ownership Act or directly on the Basic Law. Article 2 of the Basic Law guarantees every citizen the right to free development of their personality, but only insofar as they do not violate the rights of others. The “right of the other” is here the right of the tenant to an apartment free of defects according to § 536 BGB, as long as this defect is not to be regarded as insignificant. This is exactly where the weighing up has to take place.

In the case of general property impairment under civil law, the aim is that an owner is only granted a right to removal or injunctive relief against a disturber if the owner has no obligation to tolerate. This is always imposed on the owner when a disruption occurs through so-called socially appropriate behavior. The idea behind it reflects the balancing of interests to be carried out here quite well.

Accordingly, several aspects are fundamentally decisive for whether barbecuing on the balcony is permitted in your case and whether a neighbor would have a chance of success in court if he wanted to obtain an injunction:

  • First of all, there must be a fault on the part of someone else. If “your balcony is smoking,” but it’s lonely on the edge of a field where absolutely nobody gets the smoke, and your landlord only wants to forbid you from barbecuing because he doesn’t think it’s good that people eat animals anymore, he won’t be very lucky have in court. It’s different when your balcony smokes so much that the fire brigade has already been to you twice and the landlord was allowed to pay for the calls.
  • The disruption must not be very minor. This is where you can do most things to avoid a legal dispute in the first place. Which is surely your aim. You can reduce the smells, clouds of smoke and smoke emitted to your neighbors to a minimum by using aluminum foil or aluminum trays on the grill. They prevent food juice or fat from dripping onto the embers. You can also use an electric grill on the balcony, which doesn’t emit smoke, just a little odor at most.
  • Under these conditions, most courts decide that you can grill on the balcony three to six times a year if you inform the neighbor in good time in advance what argument you can use to counter your neighbor.

Electric grill as a solution?

According to the legal situation described above, the electric grill on the balcony is not the only solution that brings salvation. If you set your mind to losing 50 kg with the grill diet and daily barbecuing on the balcony from March to August, it doesn’t really matter whether a charcoal grill emits thick black smoke or only the delicate scents of an electric grill move neighboring apartment. Your neighbors will lose their appetites and it is quite likely that a court will consider this an undue inconvenience.

If you only barbeque a few times a year, use an electric grill out of consideration for the neighbors and then inform the neighbors in good time (according to a court decision: 48 hours), it will be much more difficult to cause a significant nuisance to the neighbors in this activity to recognize. That is exactly how the courts called upon decide.

Every court decision is an individual decision. Despite all efforts to find a balance, it is quite conceivable that a vegan judge would accept being bothered by barbecue smells more quickly than a judge who goes hunting every weekend and then personally puts his hunted loot on the barbecue.

But that’s how it is in a community. On the other hand, there are also neighbors who wave friendly, even if this waving is hardly recognizable anymore.

Noise at the barbecue party on the balcony

The noise caused by the barbecue party on the balcony must also be kept within limits. These limits are even quite precisely regulated. Most local noise ordinances allow you to eat and drink on your balcony during the day and entertain guests as well. And that as long as they don’t do more than talk at a reasonable volume. A certain normality limit also applies again. You can celebrate parties, but no longer if they become the norm and the neighbors feel disturbed.

Nevertheless, you must not forget the time when the barbecue party is in full swing, from 10 p.m. there is night rest. Then you can no longer party on the balcony, not even if only conversations are taking place. If you want to keep partying outside, everyone has to whisper. Since that’s not really fun, you should move inside with your guests.

avoid trouble

If you have already had the first discussions with your neighbors about how deliciously different grill smells come from your balcony, you should be careful not to harden the fronts. It’s quick, but equally uncomfortable and nerve-wracking for both parties. In the event of a legal dispute, it is also expensive.

It is better, and above all more convenient and economical, if you give in when in doubt and do without a barbecue. But you can certainly agree with your neighbors that you can have a barbecue again in August.

Barbecuing on the balcony is possible, but not too often and the neighbors should not be disturbed. An insider tip is, of course, simply inviting your neighbors over for a barbecue. The insider tip for “barbecuing on the balcony without limits” is very tricky: Place an electric grill on the table in the kitchen, grill as much as you want (or as much as the extractor can handle), and take the filled plate with you on the balcony.

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