Europe

German heavy smoker gets court boost in eviction case

Friedhelm Adolfs outside court, 18 Feb 15 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mr Adolfs' case has become a cause celebre for German smokers

Germany's Federal Supreme Court has overturned a ruling that gave a landlady authority to evict a pensioner whose heavy smoking had annoyed her.

The court said the Duesseldorf court that backed the landlady's complaint must now re-investigate the matter.

Friedhelm Adolfs, 76, had appealed against the lower court's 2013 ruling.

He argued that his flat was not completely sealed and he could not help it if smoke seeped under the door to public areas.

The landlady complained that the pensioner, who has lived in the flat for 40 years, must go because the smoke from his flat was offensive to neighbours.

Neighbours alleged that he neither cleansed his flat with fresh air nor emptied his ashtrays.

German ZDF television says Mr Adolfs has become a hero for many smokers in Germany. He is now known as Germany's second most-famous smoker after former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.

The supreme court judge said she doubted the Duesseldorf court's finding that his smoke was bad enough to have "disturbed domestic peace" in the building.

The Duesseldorf verdict nevertheless maintained that people had a basic right to smoke in their own homes.

Smoking is banned in public places in Germany, but special rooms are set aside for smokers in restaurants.

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