BGH judgment: tenants have to bear the costs of tree felling work
A judge’s gavel (symbolic image). pexels.com
KARLSRUHE (dpa-AFX) – If the landlord has a rotten tree felled, he can in principle pass the costs on to the tenants. That was decided by the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe, the judgment of November 10th was published on Wednesday. (Az. VIII ZR 107/20)
In the case from Lower Saxony, a housing association had a more than 40 year old birch felled on the property in 2015 because it was no longer stable. The costs of almost 2500 euros were passed on to the tenants with the next operating cost bill. The plaintiff should take on around 415 euros of this. She only paid conditionally and asked for the money back in court.
In fact, the question of whether the cost of felling a dying tree is one of the apportionable “garden maintenance costs” has not yet been clarified by the supreme court – and is controversial: some courts were of the opinion that the landlord was only fulfilling his so-called traffic safety obligation or a deficiency eliminate. He would have to pay for that out of his own pocket.
The BGH judges see it differently: In the Operating Costs Ordinance, tree felling work is not expressly mentioned, but only the “renewal of plants and trees”. But trees are quasi lignified plants. And a renewal regularly requires the previous removal.
According to the Karlsruhe judgment, one can also speak of running costs – even if a tree is not felled every year. Because garden maintenance is “inherent in longer, not reliably predictable time intervals”. The removal of a tree is not a completely unexpected event for the tenant./sem/DP/jha
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