Chimney sweep access to your house

55 posts in this topic

hi,

 

does anyone know what are the rules/laws on the chimney sweep mafia?

 

I understand that 1 chimney sweep is alloted to 1 area, and as house owner you have to allow them access to your property once a year.

 

But I recently heard that this was due to end as a result of european competition laws...anyone have any info?

 

And does anyone know what right a chimney sweep has to access private property? (today a chimney sweep decided to climb over our front garden fence, climb onto our roof, sweep our chimney and then leave a bill in our letter box for the work!!!, This was all while we were at work, and this was not previously with us discussed or an appointment with us agreed...surely this is trespassing??!!!)

 

Any info would be appreciated!

Thanks

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An attempt to remove the Chimney Sweep monopoly was rejected last year although there continues to be a lot of unrest over the issue in the EU. The law which stems from the NS times (when they expected the regime to last 1000 years!) of 1935 determines monopolistic regions for chimney sweeps. They are also specifically not bound to Grundgesetz Article 13 (Inviolability of the home) so can enter your property at any time in the execution of their duties. It would be normal, however to give you warning of their intended visit a week or two before (mine always does, even if he does not need access to the house). The calculation of their invoice is also set by statute, so unless he's billing you for work he has not done (and you can prove it), there is very little you can do. On the positive side you can now offset his charges against your income tax even for a private residence.

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It would be normal, however to give you warning of their intended visit

Normal, but not legally required - to make that point clear.

 

 

you have to allow them access to your property once a year.

Not just once. Whenever they need to access it in their line of duty. Can vary, especially depending on what kind of equipment is installed in the house.

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So let me try and understand this...

 

When we had our chimney swept in the UK, the sweep needed to come into the house to put all manner of protective sheeting around the fireplace, thusly preventing the house getting covered in soot. On the assumption that German sweeps don't actually break into your house to install such protection, am I seriously to understand that a German sweep can simply mount (fnarr) one's roof and insert his equipment (fnarr, fnarr) down your chimney stack force majeuere, thus potentially resulting in your house getting covered in lovely, oily, sticky, smelly black soot?!

 

:blink:

 

K

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Yes.

 

Of course usually, you shouldn't have a direct opening to the chimney in the house anyway, as that is a fire hazard or something like that i'd bet.

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Germany doesn't do open fireplaces.

Generally, the sweep trawls his area and draws a ladder on your front door's jamb with a day next to it, e.g. Di; that is all the notice you get.

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Here is a question for all you buffs. Why do many of the sloping rooftops have a permanent ladder fixed on them? The ladder does not seem to be located near a windo, so I just about ruled out 'emergency exits'.

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The ladders (or steps) are often located near small windows in the roof itself. At least on our roof they are ;)

 

sarabyrd: We get little green or yellow letters fixed to our front door, with the guy's telephone number if we want to reschedule.

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sarabyrd: We get little green or yellow letters fixed to our front door, with the guy's telephone number if we want to reschedule.

So do we. Usually about a week before he plans to visit. We have natural gas heating so he actually needs to come into the house and fiddle around in the furnace room. He used to go up on the roof, but either they don't do that any more, or he accesses it from the neighbours' (we live in a duplex) and we don't notice it.

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The type of heating you have will determine how often he visits and what he does. It is usual to require at least two visits, one to check the boiler system for emissions and safety and the other to check (and clean if necessary) the chimney. The former is internal work, so requires access to your home (and usually an appointment or announcement by way of a note on your door) the latter is external so does not necessarily need an appointment. While it would normally be possible to combine both visits into one, most sweeps do the internal visits in the winter and the external visits in the summer for obvious reasons. Unless you have previously prohibited their entry I can't see them breaking down the door to get in, except in exceptional circumstances. The external inspection without an announcement does not seem unreasonable to me. Note that you are required to provide safe access to the chimney and not to impede his access, so you may need little (permanent) ladders or walkways on the roof, and/or a small platform by the chimney, and you won't be allowed to nail an antenna or satellite dish to the chimney if this would get in his way. Terraced housing (Reihenhaus) or semi-detached houses (Doppelhaushälfte) may often provide a single point of access to the roof itself and then walkways between the different housing elements.

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Their main job is emissions testing (not nocturnal but of your heating system).

There are strict limits for Abgaswerte and if your system fails the test you must get it repaired. They are obliged to inform your local council of a failure.

 

And open fire places do exist in houses here. There are loads of businesses selling Kamine.

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our allocated chimney sweep came to see us not long ago even though we don't have a fire, we have a chimney but no fire attached yet.

he was quite miffed we weren't available the time he wanted to come and see us.

he inspected our gas heating system and wanted the name and number of the guy who installed him as apparently he was supposed to confer with the chimney sweep about it first.

I don't like him and hope this monopoly thing gets eventually overthrown so we can choose our own chimney sweep.

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I don't like him and hope this monopoly thing gets eventually overthrown so we can choose our own chimney sweep.

 

Around here we can choose our own, but what difference does it make? They all charge exactly the same.

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not cuz of the cost, I'd like to have the freedom to choose my own guy, not one who feels he can be as rude as he wants because we have to employ his services.

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You have only one assigned to your whole district? I have problems believing that.

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why? we have one certainly assigned to our village, before we even built our house the Gemeinde sent us his info.

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Here is a question for all you buffs. Why do many of the sloping rooftops have a permanent ladder fixed on them? The ladder does not seem to be located near a windo, so I just about ruled out 'emergency exits'.

 

Ours is to allow the chimneysweep safe access to the chimney.

 

As of this year, the householders in our area can choose the chimney sweep.

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You have only one assigned to your whole district? I have problems believing that.

 

We do too. He's called the Bezirksschornsteinfegermeister.

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The chimney sweep monopoly remains in force in Germany until the end of 2013. Individuals are allocated (or negotiate or buy) their own geographical district and are the only people who may inspect or work on the chimney or heating system which for most housing units is a minimally annual legal requirement. From 2013 householders will still be required to have their installations inspected of cleaned and then only by suitably qualified personnel, but they will be free to choose who they use. Many current (monopoly) chimney sweeps are taking the opportunity beforehand to approach their customers to sign up to multi-year deals to continue to use them but the general advice is to hold off from such a deal to compare prices in your own region and special offers that may be on the table as the locals and incoming competition get desperate to attract or keep business.

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We do too. He's called the Bezirksschornsteinfegermeister.

 

Yes, I know about this mafia, what I am surprised is that in some areas there is only one person who is allowed to do it. Around here you have to use one that is assigned to your area but still you have a couple to choose from.

 

Anyway, I would not change ours because we've never got problems with him, but the main thing is that we live in a semidetached house so it is easier to have the same our neighbor has because for the visit that he does not actually need to enter the house only one of us need to be at home and he can do both houses from the roof.

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