Noise pollution: These rest periods apply nationwide in Germany

Noise pollution
These rest periods apply nationwide in Germany

Noisy neighbors can rob you of sleep.

© NewAfrica/

Mowing the lawn on a Sunday or hammering a picture on the wall at night – that can be expensive. These rest periods apply in Germany.

Mowing the lawn on a Sunday, children screaming in the morning or a loud birthday party late into the night – especially in densely populated areas, such scenarios can often lead to disputes between neighbors. While in some situations the neighbor may just have to grit his teeth, other activities violate the statutory quiet times or noise protection regulations and can therefore be reported as an administrative offense.

Keeping track of everything is not easy, however: quiet times are not set nationwide, but are the responsibility of the states and municipalities. In some cases they are even regulated under private law, for example by property management companies. Here is an overview.

Sunday and public holiday rest

Sunday and public holiday rest applies in all federal states. This means that on Sundays and public holidays, work that disturbs the peace of the holiday is prohibited from midnight to midnight. This includes loud noises such as drilling, hammering, mowing the lawn or loud music. If a neighbor complains, you can expect a fine of up to 5,000 euros.

night rest

The night-time rest period also applies in all federal states – every weekday from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. There are exceptions for outdoor dining from 10 p.m. to midnight.

During the night, activities that disturb the peace are prohibited – however, there are no legal regulations as to the volume at which music or other noise is considered to be a disturbance. As a rule of thumb, the room volume of around 35 to 40 decibels should not be exceeded. For comparison: 35 decibels is produced by quiet whispering or rustling leaves.

Neighbors have to tolerate the noise of shutters, the toilet flushing or the shower – even at night. Noisy children or babies also have to be tolerated to a certain extent.

Is there a lunch break?

There are no national or state-wide regulations on a midday rest period. It is only specified by some municipalities or property management companies. In this case, information can be found on the municipalities’ websites or in the rental agreement.

However, there are also some regulations for noise protection outside of prescribed rest periods. According to the Equipment and Machinery Noise Protection Ordinance of the Federal Immission Control Act, not all gardening and construction equipment may be operated at all times. Leaf blowers and other loud machines are prohibited from operating on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

What to do if the neighbors are noisy?

Many people are unsure what to do when their neighbors repeatedly bother them with noise. It is advisable to first talk to them in person and explain why you feel bothered. If this does not improve the situation, you should contact the property management or the landlord. If the noise is particularly extreme, you can contact the public order office or the police directly.


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