Tenants may pee standing up: German court

Though many schools in the United States have made gender-neutral bathrooms available, few have done away with separate facilities for boys and girls (AFP Photo/Arno Burgi)

Berlin (AFP) - Tenants of a rented apartment may stand up while peeing in their own bathroom and not worry about the consequences, a German court said Thursday.

The district court in the western city of Duesseldorf ruled in favour of a man suing the owner of his flat for the full refund of his 3,000-euro ($3,490) deposit, the court said in a ruling obtained by national news agency DPA.

The proprietor had told the tenant he would withhold 1,900 euros because the marble floor of the washroom was permanently stained by splashed urine.

Judge Stefan Hank agreed with an expert's report that it was in fact uric acid that had eaten through the floor but said that standing to urinate was widespread.

He said the flat's owner should have made his tenant aware that the marble was highly vulnerable.

"Despite the increasing domestication of men in this area, urinating while standing up is indeed still common practice," Hank said in the ruling.

"Someone who still practises this previously dominant custom is regularly confronted with significant disputes, particularly with female cohabitants. However normally he must not reckon with damage to the marble floor of a bathroom or guest toilet."

Tenants' rights are a frequent subject of litigation in Germany.

Last June, the same Duesseldorf court ruled that an elderly smoker must vacate his home of around 40 years after neighbours complained about his cigarette smoke.

It said that the pensioner had not tried to prevent smoke from seeping into the communal hallway of the apartment building and had failed to adequately air his flat and empty his ash trays, it said.