Bike cellar silliness

32 posts in this topic

OK, this is not exactly a 'real' legal issue, but wasn't sure where else to put it... Having a bit of a vent here too! I am mostly wondering what the next steps should be. And yes, I do think it's all a bit petty, but here we are!

 

So my wife and I have lived in our current flat for 4 years. We are renters, but most others (older people) own their flats. I believe there are 15 units in total. We are daily bike users (I average 60km a week), and we keep our bikes in our building's bike cellar, which is to the side of the main entrance through a locked door. There are 15 spots (slotted racks), 5 of which are wall-hanging spots in a niche behind a support pillar (i.e. not at all convenient for daily use). There are ca. 25-30 bikes in total in the the cellar.

 

Now the problem is this: most of the bikes are not used regularly. When we moved in, all spots were taken, and most bikes were dusty, spider-web covered and over half had flat tires. It was obvious they were not being used. So we knocked on a few doors to ask if we can move some bikes to make space. Other residents said sure. Some said that in fact some of the bikes likely belong to residents who had since moved out (generally for old folk's homes because they were in their 80s/90s) and so the bikes were probably abandoned. This we did, clearing two spots for ourselves. For the next 3 years I had ''my'' spot for my bike every day, problem free. (The other spots were taken by dusty unused bikes.)

 

This takes us to earlier this year. In March a guy moved in, and in September a couple other guys (a WG?) moved in to another flat. They also have bikes, and you can guess where (in each case) they put them -- the only 'free' spots. Mine and my wife's. 'Free' because we were at work when they moved in. Both the first guy and the second WG guys did this. Now this irritated me a bit, but I could understand they didn't know, it looks like a free spot that they also want, etc. I get it. For a few months, I sucked it up and figured we just have to share... But after realizing these new bikes were also seldom even used, I got annoyed and started moving the bikes out of my spot. They'd stay where I put them (to the side) for weeks at a time. Obviously these guys don't know what it was like before, and they probably just don't care much as they don't use their bikes often. They maybe wonder what ghost-jerk keeps moving their bikes from the spot.

 

But in October, finally fed up with so many unused bikes, we first called the Hausverwaltung (he lives in the neighbouring building). They basically told us that as we were renters, tough luck. He said he could it put it on the agenda for the next owners' meeting (which we have no place in, but rather our 82 year old Vermieter who lives in the next town over) in Spring (so March 2018). They could vote on tagging/removing unused bikes, which is nice but not exactly a quick or surefire solution. Last owners meeting, it was voted down to put a bike rack outside the building by the front. A couple other residents and the Hausverwaltung suggested we just put our names on a piece of tape above a spot and 'reserve' it that way. First we wrote a letter and dropped it in everyone's mail box, explaining the problem, that it's a parking spot, not a general bike warehouse, for residents only, and if residents could please move unused bikes in to their storage cellars or otherwise consider getting rid of them. We put our name on this and were polite as possible. A few bikes did disappear and so we reserved a couple spots (my 'old regular' spot) with our names. There are usually a few 'free' spots now too. But, I still come home to find other's bikes in 'my' spot at least once a week, despite my name being above the spot (my wife and two other long-time residents also have done the same -- mine is the inner most spot of these 4).

 

I can say with 100% certainty that my wife and I are the most frequent bike users. Literally every day unless sick. There are a few or so others who are sometimes daily/sometimes not-for-weeks users, and a few more 'a few times in the summer' users. Most of the building is older folks/pensioners. The new guys do use their bikes to varying extents, but not every day. One guy (think I know who, but can't swear on it) will sometimes move mine out and put his back. I know I did this too, but the difference is, well, it was mine first for 3 solid years, and he would not his bike again for weeks. A few times he locked it to the rack. He actually has two bikes, the second of which I have never ever once seen leave its spot. The word 'selfish' comes to mind... One of the guys in the WG seems to have also allowed his (I assume) younger sister (perhaps GF?) to park a bike there. I don't see her often, but the bike moves maybe once every few weeks. I know because I'm there literally every day and you get a good feel for what's been used or not. I'm sure non-residents shouldn't be stowing their bikes in an already stuffed bike cellar. I know it doesn't matter but FWIW these are all old beater bikes in a poor state, typical for students (I used to have a crap bike too). 

 

I feel my position is 'fair' based on our time there and the fact we alone have done everything (and literally no one else!) to try to create some order in the darn bike cellar in the first place. I suppose there is no technical legal right to a freakin' bike spot, it's not paid for per se. It just seems reasonable to me, if I don't say so myself. I know it might seem petty, but I am just annoyed with coming home after a long day (90 minute commute, including 30 by bike) to find some thoughtless jerk has shoved a bike they rarely use in my spot again. In fact, it's mostly the same bike and I feel he is putting his bike there on purpose -- there are a couple other spots further down. Even yesterday a free one to the right of mine, but he still parked it in my spot. I moved it over (gently -- I'm not trying to get violent revenge or whatever) and put a post-it note on his seat, politely written, reminding him not to park there but put his own name on a free spot and reserve one for himself). This morning I found it crumpled on the floor next to my bike, and my bike moved a bit out of the spot (I had chained it in place so he couldn't move it).

 

Any other advice about what I can do, legally? I guess my legal options are few, and obviously I will have to talk to the guy who keeps ignoring my spot. This might seem like much ado about nothing, but it irritates me to no end.

 

I might try calling the Hausverwaltung to speak to this guy first (voice of authority and all). I could talk to him myself, but I am honestly afraid I'll be shouty and feel like punching him -- my spoken German is OK but not perfect and I get flustered and lose my grammar and vocab when I'm angry. I know this one guy's landlord (if it's him who is the jerky one) is also a resident, and I could talk to him (he looked after our plants and such during one long summer holiday we took).

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Our Hausverwaltung (we are all renters) tags bikes every couple of years and they put a notice up that they will be getting rid of them in 30 days if the tags are still on. Nobody has a personal bike space in the garage or cellar. It is first come, first served. It need not be so complicated. Perhaps you could talk to your Hausverwaltung and offer to do the tagging and put up the notice for them and let them handle the removal. Ours uses some kind of plastic tags that won't just fall off. It needs to be at least 30 days in case some are traveling extensively.

 

Meet your Hausverwaltung in person with a smile on your face while offering to be helpful. Take some photos of the situation to show her/him.

 

How can you tell which bikes are used while you are at work all day anyway? The thing is, everyone has the right to store a bike no matter how often they use it.

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Well, I am there in the cellar twice a day every day. Not always the exact same hours, as my work hours vary slightly by an hour or two each day. But of course it is possible some use it for just an hour each day and I don't notice. But I am fairly sure because I have moved unused bikes to the side of the cellar and they will stay there for weeks, in the exact same spot. Very James Bond of me, but I also try to put a reflector or pedal at a certain position and then notice if it's moved, ever. I'm 99% sure of which bikes are unused. Two long-term residents have their names on a spot (for over a decade as they say), and they said we should just do the same. When we called the Hausverwaltung, he suggested we could just do that for now, too. (His didn't sound too convinced about the next spring meeting himself.)

 

My bike is a rather nice one, and I'd rahter have it in a spot, and not sitting in the middle of the cellar (also a sink and a hallway to storage cellar spaces). And yes it may be a touch selfish or territorial, but I do feel as I am a frequent user, I have a bit of a stronger claim to a certain spot (which again I used for 3 years problem free). And additionally because my wife and I are the only ones who've tried to do anything about it. The guy who crumped my note for example, he might be using his bike now, but most of the time it sits unused/unmoved for weeks at a time.

 

I just think out of respect and fairness for other residents, if you know you don't use your bike much then you shouldn't put it where other frequent users are using a spot. There are twice as many bikes in the cellar as spots, the majority unused. That's why we sent the letter. Of course this one guy still hasn't moved his extra unused bike. I don't think it's unreasonable, and frankly other residents and the Hausverwaltung would seem to be on my side.

 

But yes, I know it's officially first-come first-serve. I wouldn't care so much if 'my' spots weren't taken by bikes not in use, especially when there are a couple other spots (since October) on the 'far' side (it's the corner of the room). Let them use those spots. They aren't worse or anything, just 2 metres further into the cellar.

 

I will take some photos as necessary and talk to the Hausverwaltung...

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Why don't you just buy a 2nd cheap bike lock, and when your bike is being used attach it to the slotted rack to prevent someone else taking the spot while your out.

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You have to also keep in mind that some people don't ride their bikes at all when it gets cold. I never did but left it in one spot. Same for Himself. The amount of biking you do doesn't entitle you to a better space.

 

Seriously, talk to the Hausverwaltung about tagging the bikes. The notice in the house should be seen by everyone whether they enter through the front door or the garage. You could even put one in each mailbox. If they want to keep their bikes or not have them removed, they simply tear off the tag.

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2 hours ago, alderhill said:

I can say with 100% certainty that my wife and I are the most frequent bike users. Literally every day unless sick.

And you have time to put the bike down the cellar every day? I am impressed.

 

If I were you I would ask the Hausverwaltung for some kind of outdoors parking permit at least for workdays, so that you only need your cellar Friday to Sunday. Maybe buy some outdoor racks, for use by other tenants as well. Then maybe fewer people would occupy the cellar.

 

Bike theft is a thing in Germany, but the situation is not so bad that you need to put it in the cellar every single day. In fact, leaving at the backyard with one wheel locked does the job just as fine. With the parking rack, even better.

 

That suggestion does not answer your question. Unfortunately, no legal way since your contract most probably does not come with bike space included, so only a pressure against Hausverwaltung can help somehow. Only they can remove unused bikes by tagging them and announcing removal date.

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2 hours ago, alderhill said:

Last owners meeting, it was voted down to put a bike rack outside the building by the front.

 

16 minutes ago, yourkeau said:

If I were you I would ask the Hausverwaltung for some kind of outdoors parking permit at least for workdays, so that you only need your cellar Friday to Sunday. Maybe buy some outdoor racks, for use by other tenants as well.

 

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my hausverwaltung has done the "tagging" routine twice since I've lived here.  But they never actually remove the bikes.  There's one bike that's been parked next to my garden since I moved in over 6 years ago.  The tags are still on it, but they are faded and tattered.  I don't even think that bike could be repaired at this point - it's so rusty, all covered with slime and lichens.  It's sort of become a piece of "living" art :)

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1 hour ago, alderhill said:

I wouldn't care so much if 'my' spots weren't taken by bikes not in use, especially when there are a couple other spots (since October) on the 'far' side (it's the corner of the room). Let them use those spots. They aren't worse or anything, just 2 metres further into the cellar.

 

As has been pointed out, you have no earthly idea if those bikes are "used" or not, and it's immaterial anyway.  The spots are for parking bikes. Bikes are parked in those spots.  That's it. 

 

If those open spots are just as good, what's to stop YOU from using them? 

 

come on. ffs on a stick, listen to yourself.

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I once heard that our Hausmeister was in on the tagging and getting rid of the old bikes as in he was selling some of them. Didn't matter to us as long as they were gone.

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Im sure this is illegal and someone on here will complain about my suggestion but have you ever thought about asking for forgiveness and not permission in this case? If the bike is an old rusty pos with flat tires that no one cares about/sees/rides or is really aware that it is there, why not take it to the local dumpster in the dead of night and be done with it? Yeah I know... other peoples property. Just a suggestion. 

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people reserving bike slots.  They're the ones I'd aim to put my bike in each and every time.

 

 

 

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Absolutely. Just because you wrote a polite letter to people asking them to remove unused bikes and label their preferred places, does not give you any right to repeatedly move other peoples bikes just because they parked in the most convenient place.

It actually irks me to read your text describing that there are free places available and yet you still have the audacity to move somebody else's bike out of your favourite spot and put a post-it note on their saddle!

 

By the way, I was driving to work today and there was this car going around the roundabout but I know for a fact that I use that roundabout way more than he does so I drove out in front of him, as was my right - at least the way I see it, 'cos as I said I use that roundabout all the time - and he beeped his horn at me. What a prick. Next time I see his car, which will probably be in a few weeks because he drives so rarely and is old, and thus has less authority than me, I'm going to place a politely written post-it note on his windscreen reminding him that I really prefer to have right-of-way on the roundabout because I use it so often... :ph34r:

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What kind of sign should I put up to reserve the car parking spot under my balcony in the street?  Yeah, I know all the residents can use the spots but that one is mine, I mean it's right under my balcony.

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8 minutes ago, bennetn said:

What kind of sign should I put up to reserve the car parking spot under my balcony in the street?  Yeah, I know all the residents can use the spots but that one is mine, I mean it's right under my balcony.

 

How about Reserviert für AfD Mitglieder ?

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I don't get why people have a problem with alderhill. He's asking nicely. Regardless of people rights, it's just common courtesy. We live in a 6 party Wohnung with about 8 bike slots in the cellar. It's all couples in the building, some with kids, and therefore a solid 12 or so bikes kicking around. One of the families put their bikes in their parking space as they do not have a car. I very rarely use my bike so I just put mine in the cellar. Everyone is happy. I'm not gonna use up a bike slot all year round just because I can...that's called being a dick.

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That works if you have space in your cellar.  I don't and it would be a huge hassle to remove the bike from the cellar every time I want to access something.  Of course, my cellar is actually in the attic without elevator and I use my bike every day, so that wouldn't be practical anyway, but that's not the point.

 

My "bike spot" is near the back of our bike room, even though, I'm also probably the one who uses his/her bike the most in our building.  I actually chose that one so that I would have less contention, but I wouldn't go moving someone else's bike if they parked it in "my spot".  I might leave them a friendly note, though, asking them to park elsewhere.  I do feel a certain "attachment" to "my spot" even though I know full well that it's not actually mine.  But I would definitely not go as far as to think about legal options ...

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