Vonovia on the election of the Berlin House of Representatives and the referendum to expropriate Deutsche Wohnen & Co.: Berlin needs a new way of working together on housing
Bochum, 27 September 2021 – The majority of Berliners have decided in favour of nationalising the housing stocks of large residential property companies. Set against this background, Rolf Buch, CEO of Vonovia SE, explains: “In the new legislative period, we’ll need far more mutual engagement than confrontation. Vonovia is ready to work closely with a new state government and the key social stakeholders in Berlin, so that, together, we can handle the challenges of the city’s housing market.”
“Expropriation won’t solve the many challenges in Berlin’s housing market. In view of such major challenges, Berlin cannot afford years of deadlock which will now result as the newly elected Berlin Senate needs to set up a draft law on nationalisation in the face of some obvious constitutional concerns. Even after the decision, responsible policymakers will have an opportunity to work out more constructive solutions with all the stakeholders in Berlin’s housing market, solutions that will nevertheless address the concerns of many Berliners that they may no longer be able to afford their homes in the future,” Buch continues.
He believes that the debate reflects the concerns of many Berliners that their homes might become unaffordable. “We need to take this seriously. By entering into a Future and Social Pact for Housing, we have sent a signal that we want to change something in the relationship between policymakers, society and housing companies in Berlin,” says Buch. The Future and Social Pact for Housing between Vonovia SE and Deutsche Wohnen SE is a diversified offer to improve the current situation. As a first step, the two companies have sold 14,750 residential units to municipal housing companies. In their next step, the two companies will voluntarily cap their rents in Berlin for the next five years. In addition, they are prepared to build 13,000 new residential units in Berlin.
“Climate protection, demographic change and a growing city – all of these developments clearly require new residential buildings. And we need to start now, because we’re running out of time. Implementation will have to proceed more quickly, with less red tape and on a larger scale than has been the case so far. This will require a targeted, well-coordinated housing policy that involves all the relevant interest groups – a new alliance for housing,” says Rolf Buch.