Stuttgart – Right from the start, there has been resistance to extensive modernization by the landlord in the Friedhofstrasse 11 high-rise in the Nordbahnhof district. Germany’s largest real estate company Vonovia has now completed the years of work in the 80-party building – and, as expected, is now demanding significantly higher rents. They should take effect on December 1st. But there is still resistance.
After the nationwide discussions about modernization and the resulting sometimes massive rent increases, Vonovia restricted the demands. In Friedhofstrasse, the surcharge should not exceed two euros per square meter. “But rents should still rise by almost a quarter,” says Ursel Beck from the Vonovia tenants’ initiative.
Eighteen tenants have now signed a letter to Vonovia in which they list numerous deficiencies in the work and question whether the modernization work will be correctly allocated to the rents. Vonovia justified the rent increase with 32 apportionable modernization costs amounting to 277 euros per square meter, said Ursel Beck. However, many residents of the building did not believe that this was actually the case. They have come together, elected an audit committee and networked with other Vonovia-critical initiatives in Germany.
Tenants want to see documents
Together they now want to carefully check the evidence of the costs and thus the entitlement to the rent increases. In the letter, they asked Vonovia to submit all invoices, contracts, structural studies and building acceptance certificates for the project for inspection. A first appointment should take place this week. The initiative criticizes the fact that the documents are not submitted electronically.
However, the tenants do not only check the construction costs. They also demand high rent reductions for the long construction period. The company’s current offerings are not enough for them. Until their questions have been clarified, they want to withhold the rent increase or only pay conditionally.