The clearing and spreading obligation for homeowners and tenants

Icy sidewalks, snowdrifts on sidewalks: these winter phenomena can bring about extremely unpleasant side effects. Falls on smooth roads are not so rare, so there is a clearing and Streupflicht in Germany. When is the homeowner charged - and when the tenant?

Clearing and Streupflicht is initially in the community

The clearing and spreading obligation is legally the responsibility of the competent municipality, but this may transfer its task to the homeowners, whose property borders on a public walkway. The respective community council provides information about it.

The homeowners, in turn, have the option of transferring their duty of care to potential tenants, but this must be done officially through the lease or house rules.

In doing so, precision is required: the clearing and scattering obligation must be given concrete names; a general reference to "all official and police duties" has already been judged by the courts to be too vague.

Surveillance obligation for homeowners remains

But even if the tenants of a house were legally obliged to clear and scatter, the homeowner still has a duty to monitor: The landlord must ensure that his tenants actually clear out and scatter in the winter.

The infirm and the sick may not have to do any winter service, as judged by several courts. In this case, of course, it is possible to order a commercial littering and clearing service instead.

Overall, however, in a multi-family house, the winter service must be fairly divided among all parties. That, for example, only the ground floor residents have to eliminate ice and snow is unacceptable.

To what extent does the clearing and spreading obligation apply to tenants and homeowners?

When and where must be scattered? Also this question should be clarified thoroughly for the own property, in order to fulfill the winter maintenance obligation completely. The clearing and spreading obligation applies here:

  • All sidewalks adjacent to the property must be cleared.
  • There are also walkways that do not provide access to the property.
  • Belonging to the property parking areas and their access routes include.
  • Also access ways to a possible underground parking fall under the winter duty.
  • The times of winter service are often recorded in the lease.
  • Temporal determinations are also to be taken from the Municipal Road Cleaning Ordinance.
  • Generally applies: On weekdays before 7 clock still no clearing and Streupflicht.
  • On Sundays and public holidays, it is usually not necessary to vacate and sprinkle before 9 o'clock.
  • From 20 o'clock in the evening the winter service obligation normally ends.
  • If ice formation is foreseeable, a scattering condition may also occur outside these times.

The liability question: who bears the costs in case of a fall?

If someone comes to harm on not or insufficiently cleared area, the liability question is quite quickly in the room. This question is quite simple to answer: Who holds the duty of public safety, which is also liable.

This also applies if a tenant falls out of the same house. A disclaimer by the placement of signs is not allowed by law. Possibly, however, a contributory negligence can be credited to the victim, this can only be clarified in individual cases.

The private liability insurance also occurs in the event of damage caused by winter maintenance. In the actual case of damage, therefore, a call to the respective responsible insurance is likely to be worthwhile.

Tips & Tricks

You do not know which spreading material is required in your community? Then take a look at the municipal street cleaning regulations, it says here whether split, granules or salt must be sprinkled in an emergency.

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