Germany: Why the garage cannot be used as a storage room

When there is not enough space in the house, many people are ready to adapt the garage as an additional place to store household belongings. In principle, everything can be stored here – from barbecue to trampolines. But… it’s forbidden. What rules apply to owners and tenants of garages? What can you get fined for?

Anyone who owns a garage or rents such premises is obliged to comply with existing German laws related to its use. The basic rule is that a garage is a space in which cars are parked. You can also leave your motorcycle or bicycle here. At the same time, it can be used to store various vehicle accessories. Therefore, tools, spare parts, winter tires and wheels, a child seat or roof rack – please! But furniture or boxes for moving – in no case. The arrangement of the garage as a party space or a private gym is also prohibited – serious fines are provided for violation. In the case of renting a garage, you must follow the requirements of the landlord.

Rules vary by size

The use of garages is governed by the law of each federal state, the Garage Ordinance (GaVo). However, there the focus is primarily on conditions such as the minimum width of the carriageway or the maximum slope of the ramps, and not at all instructions for the direct use of garages. ADAC lawyer Klaus Geimgärtner explains on the website of the car club: “The Garage Ordinance is part of the building regulations that must be observed in the context of a building permit. Whether it’s the garage of a single-family house or a larger building complex, it doesn’t really matter: there is a law that must be followed.” Therefore, fixed rules for the use of garages apply to everyone, although they differ in details for small, medium and large premises within each of the federal states.

Observe the purpose of the garage

The background to the official rules is that garages are subject to different building codes than residential or storage spaces. The fact that they form a separate category at all is, in turn, related to the goal of decongesting public space and improving the parking situation. Therefore, in large construction projects, the creation of parking spaces is mandatory – and the private developer of a single-family house is obliged to respect the intended purpose of the garage.

These rules may also apply to tenants or members of homeowners’ associations, who end up at even greater risk of harsh penalties. If the garage is rented together with the apartment and subsequently misused, the landlord may insist on using it exclusively as a parking space. In case of further non-compliance by the tenant with this requirement, the contract for the apartment, including the garage, may be terminated with him.

Official fines for converted garages are rare, as riot control departments do little to no inspection. However, even a disgruntled neighbor can make a difference if he files a complaint against the owner of the garage. Anyone who does not comply with the requirements can expect a fine of around 500 euros and will be required to take corrective action.

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Source: Все материалы – Московский Комсомолец by

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