Noise is annoying, and too much noise makes you sick. But what is allowed and what is forbidden? We explain the legal breaks and noise pollution allowed in Baden-Württemberg.
“The most pious cannot live in peace if they do not like the wicked neighbour.” This sentence, put by Friedrich Schiller in the mouth of his hero Wilhelm Till, brilliantly describes one of the Germans’ favorite pastimes: bullying the neighbours.
There are many reasons why neighbors fight each other. At approximately 64 percent, noise pollution is the most common cause of conflict. There are also legal breaks to avoid.
Rest periods are not regulated by national law, but are determined by the federal states and individual municipalities. You can learn more about exact state and local regulations from the responsible public order office.
Legal breaks depend on state emissions control laws and local municipal ordinances. In Baden-Württemberg (and usually elsewhere in Germany) there is a midday rest from 1pm to 3pm, a nightly rest from 10pm until 6am or 7am as well as an all-day rest on Sundays and public holidays.
In purely residential areas of Baden-Württemberg, the maximum recreational noise at night is 35 decibels (dB).
Midday breaks are not required by law at the federal or state level. However, within the framework of the regulations for the implementation of the Federal Immigration Control Act (BImSchV), there is a ban on the operation of some devices. Anyone who violates this is threatened with a fine of up to 50,000 euros for an administrative offense.
In addition, a lunch break may be regulated by private law, for example in a rental agreement or by local law or ordinance. In leases and house rules, the time between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. is often specified as a lunch break.
In purely residential areas “32. Ordinance on the Implementation of the Federal Immigration Control Act.” Pursuant to Section 7, appliances and machines such as lawn mowers, hedge mowers, scarifiers or leaf blowers may not be used outdoors on Sundays and public holidays. It is not permitted to be used on weekdays between 8 p.m. and 7 am.
Manually operated devices such as manual lawn mowers, cylinder mowers, as well as hedge trimmers are always allowed. Handicrafts such as digging and hammering are also acceptable outside of breaks.
The Ministry of Transport in Baden-Württemberg defines neighborhood noise as noise “caused by ordinary people in the neighborhood and which has a disturbing or disturbing effect”.
These include, for example, noisy televisions, parties, do-it-yourself work in the apartment or in the garden or turn on lawnmowers or leaf blowers on private property.
Neighborhood civil law regulations apply to daily harassment in apartment buildings. On the basis of Article 1004 of the German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch – BGB), a person experiencing noise can demand the cessation of the inconvenience if it “significantly harms him”.
Tenants do not have to file a claim for their rights themselves, but they can contact the landlord. He has to take care of it as part of his general duty to protect (paragraph 536 BGB – keyword: rent reduction).
Since the crying of infants and young children is part of a normal baby’s development, it must be accepted. This also includes noise from children playing indoors and outdoors. According to the Federal Immunization Control Act (Paragraph 22, Clause 1a), this is not an “Adverse Environmental Impact” and must be accepted in the living environment (neighborhood or apartment building).
Even riding in a minivan and walking with a doll stroller on the wooden floor is allowed as a “normal way to get around” for young children. The noise is kid friendly. And what is child-friendly allowed by law. In the case of children’s noise, according to the German Tenants Association, an “extended tolerance limit” is appropriate.
Noise in residential buildings
Property management companies or landlords may describe a midday break. The tenant agrees to this when entering into the lease agreement. Room size is allowed during midday break.
Even after 10 p.m., the neighbors in an apartment building have to put up with other disturbances somewhat. Allowed exceptions include lowering the curtains, cleaning, or making noise from children.
Listening to music and composing music
Listening to music all day at room volume is allowed, as well as playing music outside of nightly or midday breaks. When composing music, the courts consider two to four hours of training during the day to be justified.
After 10pm, noise is considered a disturbance to security and therefore a violation of legal breaks. Party hosts can face a fine because the noise is a violation of franchise control.
If even permanent and verifiable tenants do not adhere to legal breaks, they risk eviction of their apartment.