In autumn, the leaves turn colorful – what is a beautiful sight can quickly become a dangerous slippery slope for passers-by on sidewalks. To minimize this risk, the motto is: Sweep the leaves!
But who is responsible for this? “Basically, the obligation to ensure traffic safety on the public street space lies with the municipality,” says Julia Wagner of the Berlin-based homeowners association Haus & Grund Germany.
In several places, however, the municipality transfers this obligation – notably for sidewalks – to neighboring owners. They are then the ones who must ensure that the sidewalk is safe for traffic.
In addition to snow and ice removal, this also includes leaf sweeping. “If the paths are heavily infested with leaves and there is a risk of falling because the leaves are also wet and particularly slippery, it may be necessary to sweep the leaves several times a day,” says lawyer Beate Heilmann from Berlin.
There is no general indication of how often the sheets should be swept. “It depends on each case, especially the amount of foliage,” Wagner points out. According to a judgment of the Frankfurt/Main regional court, a swept sidewalk cannot be demanded at 7 a.m. (Az.: 2/23 O 368/98).
The Coburg District Court decided that the obligation to sweep the leaves must be reasonable for the owner (Az.: 14 O 742/07). In general, pedestrians and cyclists are required to exercise caution when entering or riding on paths with leaves.