Grilling, smoking, sunbathing, sex - which rules apply to the balcony

My home – my balcony. That’s what many people think, and the general rule is: What I’m allowed to do in my apartment, I’m also allowed to do on my balcony. If you have found an apartment with a balcony. With old buildings and the overheated real estate market in Berlin, this is not necessarily the norm, more of a stroke of luck. But for many people, the balcony is part of the quality of life and a place that contributes significantly to the work-life balance.

But of course, how could it be otherwise in Germany, certain rules also apply on the balcony, which can sometimes be punished for non-compliance. Here are a few tips for using your balcony.

1. Parasol and privacy screen

Both are allowed, but the privacy screen, i.e. the cladding of the railing, must not be higher than the railing itself or the handrail. There are no restrictions on parasols. However, you should be sure that the umbrella is windproof. When the weather is bad, it is better to fold it up and take the umbrella out of the stand.

2. Smoking

What was once considered acceptable has long since lost its validity. That means: If you smoke a cigarette on the balcony, the tobacco smoke must not bother your neighbors. Smokers can even be obliged to only smoke on their balcony at certain times.

3. Crickets

The classic for every neighborhood dispute: If you’re not sitting at the grill, you’ll quickly feel bothered by the smell of sausages and steaks wafting across from the neighboring balcony. And the law is ambiguous. Your landlord even has the right to prohibit you from barbecuing on the balcony. Otherwise, different rules apply from state to state. In Bavaria you can grill it six times a year, in other federal states less often, in the German capital you can fire up the grill twice a month. In NRW, on the other hand, the neighbors must also be informed 48 hours before the planned fun. So a tip: Switch to an electric grill.

4. Celebrations

The same applies here as is the rule in your own four walls: after 10 p.m. you should turn the music down and make sure that you have conversations on the balcony at room volume. But you don’t have to whisper. The blog diebalkonbauer.de knows that the usual night-time rest period must also be observed on the balcony in order not to disturb the neighbours.

5. Vegetables and flowers

Basically, you can plant anything you like on your balcony. However, you should make sure that the facade is not damaged and that the green plants do not overgrow the balcony too massively. It is also important to ensure that the water used for irrigation does not cause any damage or drip in large quantities onto the balconies below you.

6. Decoration

If you feel like it, you can fly the flag on your balcony, attach wind chimes or conjure up atmosphere with fairy lights. The same applies here: keep an eye on the neighbors. A wind chime in particular can definitely be perceived as a noise nuisance, and anyone who is disturbed by the constant flashing of a chain of lights from the balcony across the way may be willing to risk a neighborly dispute.

7. Skinny dipping

Yes they may! Because here, too, what you are allowed to do in your apartment is allowed. But in principle, your neighbors must not feel inconvenienced in your sense of shame. So sex on the balcony can quickly turn into a turnoff, because if you feel bothered by your love life, the neighbors can file a complaint for causing a public nuisance. This also applies if the sex can only be seen and not heard. The same also applies to open windows.

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