Plants protruding from the balcony, things to know.
Plants protruding from the balcony, things to know.
The warm season arrives and who lives in a condominium can’t wait to embellish it with plants and flowers. Things to know in order not to be wrong.
By Annamaria Villafrate 05/05/2020
Here then the first colored vases of geraniums and petunias begin to be seen, some resting on the windowsills, others instead in the planters outside the balconies. Of course flowers and plants are beautiful and very decorative.
When living in an apartment building, however, some questions need to be asked.
Let’s try to answer some of the most important ones.
Can plants protrude from the balcony? If yes, how much?
Here are the first questions that a condominium should ask himself when he decides to beautify his terrace. In fact, remember that if it is true that the balcony of the individual apartment is a private property, it is also true that, living in a condominium, it is necessary to worry first of all what the condominium regulation on plants and flowers requires.
In fact, the regulation may prohibit, for safety reasons or to prevent flowers and leaves from dirtying the terrace of the owner of the floor below, from placing vases on the windowsills or hanging planters protruding from the balconies.
If, after a careful check of the provisions of the regulation, no precise indications are found, before making any decision, it is also necessary to check what the municipal regulation provides.
It is therefore clear that, to find out if it is possible to hang beautiful vases of fragrant flowers and how much they can protrude from your balcony, you just have to check these regulations and comply with any provisions contained therein.
What happens in the event of a fall?
Placing pots and plants on the windowsill or poorly fixing the planters can have civil and criminal consequences, both in the case in which they hit things or people.
Let’s say that a condominium places a vase with flowers on the windowsill of his balcony and this falls on a car parked or in transit, ruining the bodywork. In this case, from the civil point of view, there is no doubt that who at that time is required to “keep” the apartment, is responsible pursuant to art. 2051 c.c. “for damage caused by things in custody”.
This is an objective liability from which the “caretaker” can free himself only by trying the fortuitous event, that is, an absolutely unexpected and unpredictable event capable of causing the damage by himself.
A fortuitous event which, contrary to what one might think, is not represented by the gust of strong wind that makes the vase fall from the parapet.
The pots simply placed and not fixed in a stable way to the terrace, in fact represent a risk in themselves.
From a penal point of view, then, if the object falls due to carelessness, the offense contemplated by art. 674 of the Italian Criminal Code, who punishes with an arrest of up to one month or a fine of up to 206 euros, who “throws or pays, in a place of public transit or in a private place but in common or used by others, things suitable for offend or smear or harass people (…) “
This is a criminal offense of danger, which punishes all those conducts capable of causing damage, and which are punishable both as willful misconduct and guilt.
As for the criminal aspect, problems can arise even if a vase is badly positioned on a parapet or a planter is fixed to the balcony without any anchorage to prevent it from falling.
In this case in particular, it is possible to incur the crime of dangerous placement of things as provided for by art. 675 of the Civil Code, which punishes those who “place or suspend things which, falling in a place of public transit, or in a private place but in common or used by others, can offend or smear or harass people.” It is also in this case a crime of danger, decriminalized in 1999, which pursues the potential offense.
This means that the object does not need to fall. The punishment is in fact anticipated to the potential offense that the vase or the planter can cause.
Naturally, things get complicated if the vase or the planter, falling from the balcony, causes injury to one or more people or even death. In this case, civil liability provides for the obligation to compensate the patrimonial and non-patrimonial damage while the criminal one has as a consequence the application of the penalties foreseen for the crime of serious or very serious injuries or, in the worst case scenario, of murder.
In case of falling petals?
It seems impossible that the fall of delicate and colorful petals have a relevance for the law. Too bad the reality is very different.
We think of the nuisance that can cause the petals that fall from the planters hanging on the balcony of the upper floor.
By falling on the balcony of the apartment on the floor below, in fact, they can integrate the crime, previously analyzed, contemplated by art. 674 of the Italian Criminal Code who punishes “anyone who throws or pours into a private place but in common or of someone else’s use, things capable of offending or smearing or harassing people”, meaning by harassment any act or fact capable of disturbing the peaceful enjoyment of others of a thing.
Falling petals that can also cause damage. An example? Imagine a beautiful fabric sofa positioned on the terrace of the apartment below or close to it that is ruined by the petals, leaves or stems which, losing color, stain the covering.
In this case, the person who does not take care of cleaning the plants by removing the withered flowers and leaves or who are about to detach from the plant, may incur, depending on the case, the responsibility for things in custody pursuant to art. 2051 c.c. or in that of Aquila referred to in art. 2043 c.c., which punishes any fact that causes unjust harm to others.
Flowers and plants in condominium: it is also a matter of “decorum”
Lastly, for the sake of completeness, please note that art. 1120 c.c. prohibits “innovations that may prejudice the stability or safety of the building, which alter its architectural decoration …”. Decoration that can also be altered by the installation of pots, plants and planters.
The condominium regulation can in fact prohibit the installation of planters from the cantilevered balconies or establish, for aesthetic reasons, the obligation to use pots of a certain material and color.
The Cassation n. 1286/2010 establishes that the ornaments on the balconies are allowed, of course unless otherwise provided in the condominium regulation, provided that they do not alter the physiognomy or harmony of the facade of the condominium.
GECOSEI of Giuseppina Napolitano