People have to live with leaves falling from their neighbors' trees, a German court has ruled. But tree owners do have to stick to some regulations.
People annoyed by leaves and cones falling from neighbors' trees onto their properties will have to live with the offending foliage as long as the trees are planted at the correct distance from property boundaries, Germany's Federal Court of Justice ruled on Friday, overturning a decision by a lower court.
The court described falling leaves, branches and flying pollen as "natural events" for which a tree owner was not responsible.
The ruling puts an end to a yearslong neighborhood dispute, where a property owner had complained about three 18-meter (59-foot) birches on his neighbor's block that were dropping leaves, branches and seeds. The complainant had petitioned for the owner of the trees to be considered a "nuisance."
Two lower courts had already ruled on the case, the first against the complainant and the second in his favor, leading the accused to take the matter to Germany's highest court of criminal and civil jurisdiction.
The court said in the ruling that, provided the correct distance from the boundary was kept, the trees could remain standing if they were looked after properly.
tj/sms (epd, AFP)