On Monday morning, a rental activist held up a poster in front of the noble 1950s high-rise at Kurfürstendamm 32. In addition to the Udo Walz hairdressing salon, the Skjerven Group, to which the Swedish real estate company Heimstaden belongs, has its Berlin headquarters in the building. The tenant’s poster contains four demands from the “Stop Heimstaden” network.
These are: a “general and absolute ban on conversion, a right of co-determination by tenant councils, a freeze on rents at the level of November 24th, and the immediate re-letting of vacant apartments”.
At the same time, delegates of the initiative will meet at 10 a.m. at the Heimstadt corporate offices on Kurfürstendamm and Friedrichstrasse. The avoidance agreement on more tenant protection that the company recently signed with the districts is not enough for them; they are demanding further concessions. Heimstaden had meanwhile announced that he wanted to contact protesting tenant groups.
Heimstaden offers discussions with managers
“We welcome that, but we do not want to get swept up in the talks,” says a delegate of the “Stop Heimstaden” initiative who does not want to give her name. The network now has an offer for a video call with Heimstaden CEO Patrik Hall and Heimstaden Germany boss Caroline Oelmann as press spokesman Luca Niefanger confirmed.
The tenant says: “The conversation must be prepared. We want to hand over our demands today in order to have a basis for discussion ”. In an open letter to the company as well as the Senate and the districts, the network suggests December 10th as a meeting date.
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The handover on Kurfürstendamm was not successful. An employee does not want to accept the poster and recommends making an appointment by email instead. “But at least it’s a success. You now know, “says the rental activist afterwards. “Stop Heimstaden” is more successful on Friedrichstrasse. There the poster with the four main demands is received by Heimstaden manager Caroline Oelmann and press spokesman Bernd Arts.
Initiative calls for an “absolute ban on conversion”
Heimstaden had acquired around 130 properties in Berlin in the past few months. In the avoidance agreement recently signed with the districts for 82 houses, the company undertakes, among other things, to refrain from converting rental apartments into condominiums for a period of 20 years. However, this protection only applies to the houses in environmental protection areas.
“Stop Heimstaden” therefore names the four named demands on the rental activist’s poster.