Against the background of rising energy prices, balcony power plants with large solar panels are a mega trend. But tenants are faced with major hurdles – there are apparently even evictions.

The climate crisis and an urgently needed energy transition have dominated public discourse for years. You should save and rely on renewable energy where you can. The balcony power plant has therefore become a trend for apartments with an outdoor area. Because the idea is simple: Solar panels are attached where there is space anyway, and the in-house power circuit is supported with a simple cable. A family from Ilmenau also thought so, as reported by the “Thüringer Allgemeine”. But instead of a low bill from the energy supplier, a notice of termination for the apartment fluttered into the mailbox. It went to court.

Balcony power plant installed without the consent of the landlord – eviction

According to the local newspaper, the family installed a balcony power plant at the beginning of the pandemic – apparently without speaking to the landlord first. That can definitely happen, because the sellers of the power plants often state self-confidently and without warning that they are dealing with “solar power for everyone”, the word “landlord” does not even appear in many Amazon offers. For specialist companies such as “BK-Vertrieb GbR” it says: “If the attachment of things to the balcony railing is not explicitly forbidden in the rental contract or in the agreements (declaration of division or community regulations) of the apartment owners’ association, there is no formal need for it.”

But the Ilmenauer Wohnungsbaugenossenschaft (WBG) showed little understanding for the energy saving measures of its tenant. Shortly after the installation, the family received notice of termination in June 2020 – a long legal dispute followed. The landlord’s reasons: The installation was not approved and represented “a danger to neighbors, passers-by and the building”. The process dragged on, it took a year. After two verdicts, however, it was clear: the system had to go, the landlord was right.

The tenant didn’t like that – and he left the system hanging. Another dismissal and a second lawsuit followed. Again, two courts ruled against the family and approved the eviction. The tenant states that he still cannot understand the verdict. He made sure the facility stayed in place, bought extra insurance and even provided fire extinguishers. He also requested permission from his landlord, apparently in vain. Nothing helped.

The WBG has emphasized that as a landlord it does not generally reject the balcony power plants – as long as they are registered and meet the legal requirements. In a specific case, however, this can mean many things.

Obstacles are often unclear – and enormously diverse

For example, some landlords require installation by a specialist company with the appropriate certificate, appropriate additional insurance for damage of all kinds, proof of the “system’s stability” and promises to ensure complete dismantling when moving out. It is also important for some that the visual appearance of the building does not change and that neighbors cannot be dazzled.

A landlord in Hamburg sums it up in an inquiry as follows: “We recommend that you really deal with the topic in detail, as costs and benefits are often not in a reasonable relationship to each other.” It goes on to say: “Our current experience shows that our members, after having dealt with the topic more intensively, usually decide not to pursue the project any further.” Energy transition looks different.