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Tort law: Special provisions in regard to apartments, structures and paths under tort law

Special provisions apply in the Austrian Civil Code (ABGB) in regard to apartments, structures and paths under tort law.

In connection with apartments, the Austrian Civil Code (ABGB) lays down liability independently of fault. That means that the actual proprietor of an apartment is, pursuant to Sec. 1318 Austrian Civil Code (ABGB), liable for both losses caused by an item that has been hung up or erected dangerously falling down (in the apartment or on the window bars) and any losses caused by an item being thrown or poured out of the apartment.

Should any parts come loose from a building (e.g. roof tiles, but also roof avalanches), or should it cave in, the owner of the builder is liable if he or she has not counteracted such an event by complying with the necessary duty of care pursuant to Sec. 1319 Austrian Civil Code (ABGB).

Particular attention is to be paid to the liability of the owner of a path outlined in Sec. 1319a Austrian Civil Code (ABGB), especially in winter. The latter entails a consumer protection obligation, which obliges owners of paths to keep their path in a flawless state if it is open to the public for use. A path is flawed (e.g. a street or a ski slope) if the justified expectations in regard to the safety of the path are frustrated.

Sec. 93 of the Austrian Highway Code (StVO) unmistakably lays down that owners of landed properties need to ensure that pavements and footpaths allocated to the properties are freed of any snow and are gritted when there is black ice.

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