Grilling on the balcony in Germany – What is allowed and what is not allowed?


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Summertime is grill timein Germany. And for some barbecue enthusiasts, it is barbecue season all year round. But you don’t have a garden. Is grilling on the balcony allowed?

It’s summer or the weather is just great. All you want to do is sit on the balcony and enjoy the grilled steaks in a cozy atmosphere. But what if that “stinks” to the Germany neighbor? Is grilling on the balcony allowed? And is there perhaps a barbecue law in Germany?

Is there a right to grill on the balcony in Germany?

For some typical conflicts that can arise between neighbors, there are legal regulations in the German Civil Code (BGB). In addition, there is the Neighbor Law Act – or also called Neighbor Law – which also applies to the whole of Germany. In addition, there are specific state regulations. So it is not easy to invoke universal rights when it comes to barbecuing. But one thing is certain: there is no basic right to barbecue.

Grilling on the balcony

A property owner may in principle do as he or she likes with and on his property, but neighbors are also obliged to show mutual consideration . Section 906 (1) of the German Civil Code (BGB) regulates the effects of the neighboring property that the owner of a property must accept, provided that the use of his own property is not or only insignificantly impaired. That’s the theory.

What happens when there is a quarrel about barbecuing?

There are no specific rules on “barbecuing – yes or no and how often?” In tenancy and housing law. As a result, there are countless court rulings on the subject of barbecuing. The judges do not agree on this, although they often decide in favor of the “barbecue friends”. 

So it is undisputed that barbecuing – especially in the summer months – is quite common and must be generally tolerated. But there is a limit to what is reasonable. In practice, the rights of neighbors arguing often collide.

Where can you grill?

In the garden, on the terrace and on the balcony, everyone can grill to their heart’s content, because grilling is considered a “socially appropriate act” and must be tolerated as such. Barbecuing on the balcony of rental apartments is also generally permitted. In plain language: grilling on the balcony is not prohibited by law, but …

TIP: You should first read in your rental agreement or the house rules whether you can grill on your balcony.

Grilling on the balcony

Grilling on the balcony – a ban applies here

Barbecuing on the balcony is prohibited if it is in the house rules or in the rental agreement . Anyone who signs such a lease and rents the apartment on these terms will in retrospect fail to take legal action. Therefore, before barbecuing: read the rental agreement and house rules. 

According to a judgment of the Essen Regional Court (10 S 438/01), the landlord has the right to include this clause in the contract. In this case, the house rules forbade barbecuing on the balcony, whether on a charcoal grill or an electric grill. The tenant must adhere to this. If he does not do this, in the worst case scenario he will have to expect a dismissal.

Avoid smoke pollution when grilling

Regardless of what may be in the lease, reckless behavior will not be tolerated. Because even if barbecuing on the balcony is not expressly prohibited, the neighbors must not be affected by smoke or soot from the charcoal grill. 

If the smoke moves into the neighboring apartment, there will usually be no warning from the landlord, but there may be a fine. This is due if grilling on the balcony or terrace is classified as an administrative offense.

Administrative offense according to the Immission Control Act

Grilling can be a violation of the Immission Control Act . This is the case when the neighbors feel disturbed by the smell and smoke. By the way, it doesn’t matter whether the grill is on the balcony, terrace or in the garden. As you can see, the topic of “grilling on the balcony” can be interpreted very differently and has already occupied many dishes.

TIP: It is always best to come to a peaceful agreement with your neighbor. 

The two federal states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Brandenburg have their own legal regulations when it comes to barbecuing. 

The State Immission Control Act is decisive here: smoke must not enter the neighbors’ living and sleeping rooms. A fine may be due in the event of violations.

Grilling on the balcony

Grill with an electric grill on the balcony

“I can always grill with an electric grill on my balcony!” You’ve probably heard that too. Unfortunately this is wrong. If your rental agreement states that barbecuing on the balcony is generally prohibited, you are also not allowed to use a gas or electric barbecue on the balcony. The situation is different if grilling with charcoal is prohibited by house rules, but electric or gas grills are allowed.

And what about apartment owners? Even in residential complexes, the owners are not generally allowed to grill with an electric grill on the balcony. According to the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court, grilling can generally be restricted, prohibited or limited in time or place. The location and size of the garden or balcony, the frequency of grilling and the grilling device used are particularly decisive here. So the next time you want to grill with your electric grill on the balcony, you should first check whether this is also allowed in your home.

What do the courts in Germany say about grilling on the balcony?

There are numerous judgments on the subject of barbecuing on the balcony. This does not result in a general rule on how often and with which grill device you can grill . Rather, it always depends on the individual case, as the following examples of the different dishes indicate:

  • The Halle / Saale District Court (120 C 1126/12), for example, ruled that apartment owners are only allowed to grill with charcoal four times a year . They also have to announce this to the neighbors 24 hours in advance.
  • The Munich Regional Court (36 S 8058/12 WEG) has approved the ban on barbecuing in the house rules. The majority of the apartment owners decided at an owners’ meeting that barbecuing over an open flame should be banned in the complex . This new regulation should be included in the house rules. One apartment owner was unsuccessful with her action for rescission. The house rules have been amended on this point.
  • The District Court of Westerstede (22 C 614/09 (II)) also restricted barbecuing with charcoal to two times a month and a maximum of ten times a year. Here the dispute went about a grill fireplace on the property line.

Avoid quarreling about grilling on the balcony in rental houses

If you like to grill and live in a rented apartment with a balcony, you can of course indulge your passion. Ideally, your neighbors don’t mind barbecuing with a charcoal grill form the balcony and the courts don’t have to deal with lawsuits. But things don’t always run that smoothly. 

In practice, it has proven useful to use an electric grill or a gas grill for the balcony instead of barbecuing on a charcoal fire . There is no smoke here and your neighbors do not feel bothered. Nobody can complain just because of the smell of sausages, steaks & Co.


For die-hard charcoal fans: In many places there are barbecue huts or barbecue areas for rent; Grilling with charcoal is expressly permitted there.

Grilling on the balcony

Is barbecuing on the balcony allowed for tenants or is barbecuing prohibited?

Can you grill on the balcony?
Basically yes, unless it is prohibited in the rental agreement. If neighbors feel disturbed by the smoke or the noise of the party, compromises have to be made. What these look like varies.

The Hamburg District Court (40 C 229/72) ruled that grilling with a charcoal grill on the balcony of a rented apartment in a house with several parties is always inadmissible because the neighbors are impaired by the smoke.

In a tenant garden it looks different again. At least that’s how the District Court of Wedding sees it. It decided that the tenant may occasionally have a charcoal grill in his garden . This also applies if the house rules prohibit barbecuing on the balcony or terrace.

Are apartment owners allowed to grill on the balcony?

For this purpose, the Stuttgart Regional Court (10 T 359/96) ruled that an apartment owner can grill up to three times a year on his terrace. However, the apartment owners’ association can, by majority vote, prohibit barbecues on balconies, terraces and lawns in the residential complex, so that the Zweibrücken Higher Regional Court (3 W 50/93). On the other hand, the owners’ meeting may not allow unrestricted barbecues on the balconies by majority vote. That was decided by the Düsseldorf Regional Court (25 T 435/90).

When and how often is grilling on the balcony allowed?

There are no time requirements in the law here. The decisions of the courts are very different, so that no general rule on how often you can grill a year can be derived from them. But even if grilling is allowed, it must not be too loud. The OLG Oldenburg decided on this (13 U 53/02):

After 10 p.m., the neighbors do not have to accept any smells or noises associated with the barbecue. Four times a year on special occasions, however, a barbecue evening can be extended until midnight. That too is a case-by-case decision. 

So it is better not to be too loud if it could disturb neighbors. How often you are allowed to grill and bother the neighbors is a matter that has to be assessed very individually, where it always depends on the individual case.

Conclusion for grilling on the balcony

The frequently asked question “Is barbecuing on the balcony allowed?” Is a decision on a case-by-case basis. No fundamental do’s and don’ts can be derived from this, except that barbecuing is explicitly forbidden in the rental agreement.

For peaceful coexistence and coexistence, it is advisable to grill carefully. If you use an electric grill and aluminum dishes instead of a charcoal grill, you can largely avoid smoke and smoke. If a barbecue party is planned, inform the neighbors in good time and invite them to a barbecue. Even if they don’t accept the invitation, it at least increases the chance that they won’t complain.

Celebrating parties is of course not forbidden, but here too you should be considerate of your neighbors as much as possible. From 10 p.m. on the balcony, terrace and garden can only be celebrated quietly. The best thing to do is to move the party into the apartment and continue celebrating at room volume.

Expaturm aims to help educate Expats in Germany on key issues that they will have to deal with while living in Germany by providing everything you need to know about Banking, Healthcare, Lifestyle, and Housing in Germany



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