High-earners, the elderly and people who don't have children themselves are the most likely to complain about noisy children and see a rent reduction as a justified compensation, daily Hamburger Morgenpost reported this week, citing a survey by property internet site Immowelt.de.
The rich are more likely to be irritated regardless of whether they have children themselves. One in five people who have a household income above €4,000 per month after taxes think a rent reduction is reasonable if they have to put up with noisy children among their neighbours.
Roughly the same proportion of childless and elderly people take the same view, the paper said.
This was somewhat higher than the rest of the population, 86 percent of whom took the view that children should be allowed to run amok a little, even if it disturbs others.
Four percent of all people surveyed felt that not punishing children for noise constituted a “free pass to lazy parents.”
In practice, courts have generally decided that rent reductions are not a reasonable response to child noise disturbances.
“If a baby cries a lot, neighbours have to put up with it,” said Siegmund Chychla from the Hamburg Tenants Association. The same went for footstep noise or the playing of children's musical instruments such as the recorder.
However, neighbours did not have to put up with, for example, toy “bobby cars” being driven around inside apartments, he said.
Disputes over noise from children belongs to the list of most common complaints at renters' associations, he said.
"Children now only live in every fourth household, and that means a lot of understanding has been lost," Chychla added.