Neighbor dispute – how you can solve conflicts

The neighbor constantly hears loud music, the trees shade his own property and the dispute escalates. Annoyance with neighbors is one of the most unpleasant everyday conflicts. Who knows its rights, can solve many conflicts in addition, without too large expenditure.

Lawn mowers, loud parties and children’s noise


Always these neighbors!

Noise is the most frequent cause of neighbor disputes. 40 to 60 percent of Germans feel inconvenienced by this, depending on the survey. At least there are some clear rules for noise protection. Thus, the night’s rest basically lasts from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The usually two-hour noon quiet period applies between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., depending on the city and municipality. The use of lawn mowers or leaf blowers is also clearly regulated; their use on Sundays and public holidays is generally prohibited. On weekdays, for example, lawn mowing is permitted in residential areas until 8 p.m.

Remedy: The public order office monitors the observance of the quiet times. In the event of a dispute – for example, if the neighbor does not turn down the music after 10 p.m. despite warnings – you can call the police. In the event of constant disturbance of the peace by the neighbor, tenants can alternatively also request the landlord to ensure quiet under the threat of a rent reduction.

Disputes: Often controversial is the noise during the day by "house music". In most cases, the courts allow a limited number of hours in which to practice. In the case of children’s noise, those affected often have little chance in court, especially when the offspring is still young.

Trouble around the neighbor’s garden

The neighbor’s tree shades the property, branches grow over the fence and leaves fall on your own lawn. You have the following options for disputes about your neighbor’s garden: If a "not insignificant" If there is an encroachment on the property, the neighbor must remove any branches that grow over it. You should set a deadline for him to prune it back. Only if this has elapsed, one may saw off the branches also on one’s own initiative.

Owners who are annoyed by their neighbor’s tall trees and their shadows have little chance of success. As long as the tree is at a sufficient distance from the boundary, there is nothing you can do (BGH, Az.: V ZR 229/14). Planting distances are regulated in the neighbor law of the federal states.

There is also little to be done about the foliage of a neighbor’s trees, as long as the property is not unusually affected and the planting distance has been observed. Only in exceptional cases do the courts grant compensation for the extra effort (BGH, Az. V ZR 102/03).

Barbecues and odors

The neighbor is barbecuing and fogging up your property or home with smoke. Even in such disputes, there must be a substantial nuisance caused by fumes or smoke in order to take action against it. Many courts consider it unreasonable to have thick clouds of smoke drifting into one’s own home. In principle, however, occasional barbecuing on the balcony is permitted (LG Stuttgart, Az.: 10 T 359/96). Unless the landlord has forbidden barbecuing on the balcony by house rules.

Settling disputes out of court

For disputes with neighbors, most federal states first make an out-of-court conciliation procedure mandatory. Information on this can be obtained from the local court or the municipal administration. The aim of conciliation is to reach an agreement, whereby the settlement reached is just as enforceable as a judgment. The costs of arbitration are usually less than 100 euros. Only after an unsuccessful attempt at mediation is legal action possible.

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