Vonovia Waives Its Right to Claw Back Foregone Rents – Rent Freeze Has Been Ruled Unconstitutional and Must Not Lead to Insecurity among Tenants
- Following the ruling of the German Federal Constitutional Court, Vonovia makes a pledge to its tenants that they will not have to pay any foregone rent
- Vonovia waives its right to claw back up to €10 million
- Vonovia calls upon all stakeholders to not make the tense situation worse and to de-escalate and work towards a common solution
Bochum, Germany, April 15, 2021 – The German Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe published its ruling concerning the Berlin Rent Freeze Legislation today. Implemented on February 23, 2020, this law has now been ruled unconstitutional by Germany’s highest court.
“The decision of the Constitutional Court was only logical; the Berlin Rent Freeze was never the right instrument to solve the problems of the Berlin housing market. Having said that, this ruling creates enormous uncertainty among tenants, many of whom are already plagued by se-vere financial concerns because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This ruling will also give new momentum to the debate about affordable housing,” commented Vonovia CEO Rolf Buch. “That is why we have decided to not claw back any of the foregone rents to which we would now be legally entitled. Our top priority at this point are the people who live in our flats in Berlin, and we want them to be at ease. We do not want them to suffer financial consequences because of political decisions that were made. This commitment to our tenants is also a message that there must be no further escalation on the question of affordable housing in Germany’s capital.”
Vonovia waives its right to claw back foregone rents because there is a large number of tenants who did not follow the advice of the Berlin State Government to put aside the money saved under the Rent Freeze Legis-lation. Furthermore, Vonovia does not want to put its tenants in the uncomfortable position of having to reveal their entire personal financial situation.
By sacrificing on the collection of up to €10 million of legally owed rent, Vonovia clearly demonstrates that stakeholder reconciliation is not at odds with being a listed company.
The lack of affordable housing in Berlin remains a major challenge for society, lawmakers and housing companies even after this ruling. Rolf Buch explains, “Only if all stakeholders join forces will we be able to stabilize the housing market, to preserve and modernize the housing stock and to add new affordable apartments. By waiving the foregone rent, we show that we’re serious about finding solutions.”