What is allowed and what is not allowed when grilling a home in Germany?


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As soon as it is warm during the day and tepid at night, for many the little German neighborhood war begins. Sounds funny until it happens to you.

Expats watch out! Because one or the other garden owner gets pissed off when he has neighbors who like to grill too much. There is no law that uniformly regulates the subject of “barbecuing” at home. That is why there are numerous individual cases that had to be decided by judgments – and with very different timeframes. Find out below what the accepted norma are for grilling at home in Germany are.

grilling at home

Are you an owner or a tenant?

The district court Munich I decided in a case of an apartment owners association that grilling with briquettes or charcoal can be forbidden by “house rules”. In this case, the decision of the owners’ meeting was approved, which forbids a “ban on barbecuing with an open flame” by house rules. 

This regulation “essentially specifies the rules of conduct with which the protection of the building and the maintenance of security and order are to be guaranteed”. It is possible for the purpose of fire protection and to avoid smoke. (LG Munich I, 36 S 8058/12).

Is “denatured alcohol” allowed?

If underage children are seriously injured by a flame while grilling in the garden because the “grill master” pours denatured alcohol into the charcoal at the instigation of the children’s mother, the man’s private liability insurance cannot claim the mother for the accident, because she is the Negligently negligently neglected the duty to supervise their children. 

At least not if she had made sure that the six-year-old was watching the action from a long distance from the grill.

In the specific case, however, when the alcohol evaporated, the little one ran so miserably at the call of his nine-year-old sister that he got caught in the jet of fire. This could not be foreseen for the mother, so that she was able to reject the claim for damages made against her in the amount of 50 percent. (OLG Hamm, 9 U 145/13)

grilling at home

How many barbecues per summer are you allowed?

The district court Munich I gathered two owners in the hall, who argued about the smoke development from one of the two barbecues. The decision was clearly in favor of barbecuing: If it cannot be shown that barbecues were made more than 16 times in four months, then this is not a nuisance that is “above the emission allowance”. (AZ: 15 S 22735/03)

In other cases, on the other hand, courts only awarded owners four barbecues per year.

A house owner can use house rules to forbid tenants from barbecuing on the balconies. Because “smoke and smell are suitable for annoying the other roommates in the house”. He can threaten to terminate the contract without notice if it is violated. According to the Essen District Court, this also applies to grilling with an electric grill, which can also be odorous. (AZ: 10 S 438/01)

grilling at home

Don’t have a garden? Where in public can I grill in Germany?

No garden, no terrace, no balcony? Of course, this does not mean that you have to do without barbecuing in summer. Sizzling is also ofen allowed in public places such as parks  – but only if it is expressly stated there. There are designated barbecue areas in green areas that everyone must adhere to. 

Anyone who disregards this must expect a fine. Because the question “where can you grill” is clearly answered here. Each municipality decides for itself which places are specifically released, as well as the amount of the fine. So it’s best to first inform, then light the grill.

Just remember that grilling in public is an increased fire risk in nature

Summer temperatures – this leads to an increased risk of fire in nature. The Munich fire brigade therefore gives some preventive advice:

  • Grilling is only allowed in the designated areas. In Munich there are special grill areas on the Isar and in some parks
  • Open fire must always be supervised even in permitted places. There is also a high risk of fire from flying sparks
  • In prolonged dry weather, a fire can also spread to meadows and lawns. Therefore, you should never leave barbecue charcoal behind that has not been completely extinguished
  • From 1.3. until October 31 There is a general ban on smoking in our forests
  • No open fire in the forest – in addition to barbecuing, this also includes a torchlight hike, fireworks, kerosene lamps
  • Make sure that no glass bottles and shards are left in the forest, which can quickly become the cause of the fire due to the burning glass effect

If you discover a fire or an uncontrolled fire in nature, call the fire brigade as soon as possible – phone number: 112.

Tim Gumbert
Tim Gumbert
Tim is the go-to guy when it comes to finding all the gems regarding life as an Expat in Germany. His whole motto is discover Germany on your own and without a roadmap, explore new routes while climbing or mountain biking.



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