BGH examines neighborhood dispute over insulation

Karlsruhe (dpa) – Whether tree, roof or wall: If something protrudes from the neighbor into your own property, it is often a cause for dispute. The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) negotiated a neighborhood dispute in Cologne on Friday due to the subsequent thermal insulation of a house on the property line Get meaning. A judgment by the highest German civil court is expected at a later date

What is it?

The owner of an apartment building in Cologne that was built several decades ago wants to have the building insulated . From the outside because, according to his own statements, this is not possible for him from the inside with justifiable effort. The problem: The house is right on the property line. Since the neighbor does not want to tolerate a superstructure of less than 25 centimeters through the insulation, the owner went to court. The district court sentenced the neighbor to accept the measure. The Cologne Regional Court, on the other hand, is of the opinion that the neighbor does not have to tolerate the cross-border thermal insulation. The owner has appealed against this to the Federal Court of Justice.

What is he referring to?

According to the Neighborhood Law of North Rhine-Westphalia, a neighbor must build on his property with thermal insulation measures tolerate on existing buildings if comparable thermal insulation cannot be carried out in any other way with reasonable effort and the overbuilding does not impair the use of the property or only negatively impacts it. “A significant impairment is to be assumed in particular if the development exceeds the border to the neighboring property in depth by more than 0. 25 m (…)”. From the point of view of the OLG, this state law obligation to tolerate is unconstitutional and null and void. There is a lack of legislative competence in the country. This is already regulated in the German Civil Code (BGB).

At the hearing, however, the BGH indicated that subsequent insulation of old buildings in the sense of climate protection could possibly be a “different fact” than that Inadvertent overbuilding of a property regulated in the BGB.

What does it look like in other federal states?

Elsewhere, state laws oblige neighbors to insulate the outside of existing buildings for the benefit of climate protection tolerate. First and foremost, old buildings are thought of, which often extend from property line to property line. According to the BGH, there are comparable regulations in the neighboring laws of many federal states – for example in Hesse, Brandenburg, Lower Saxony, Berlin and Baden-Württemberg.

What must be observed for new buildings?

In a ruling in the year 2017, the BGH made it clear for new buildings: If you build your house directly on the property line, you should allow for sufficient space for the thermal insulation from the outset (Az.V ZR 196 / 16). Owners of houses that were built at a time when thermal insulation was already necessary cannot rely on the state regulations. At that time the judges were dealing with a house in the Berlin district of Köpenick, which was built in the middle of the 2000 years.

Only individual cases?

In view of the climate protection goals of politics, such neighbor disputes could occur more frequently in the future, estimates Beate Heilmann, the chairwoman of the working group tenancy law and real estate in the German Lawyers’ Association (DAV). Axel Gedaschko, President of the umbrella association for the housing industry, GdW, also sees it that way. He points out that, in particular, buildings with little or no insulation now have to be given a new insulation shell. “When it comes to cross-border thermal insulation, there is an increased potential for controversy with ever higher insulation thicknesses – as with many other neighborhood conflicts when it comes to property boundaries.”

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