Last hope for threatened tenants (new-deutschland.de)

Numerous people sit in the Simon-Dach-Straße corner Boxhagener street in Friedrichshain in restaurants around the cinema Intimes. A new cooperative

Numerous people sit in the Simon-Dach-Straße corner Boxhagener street in Friedrichshain in restaurants around the cinema Intimes. A new co-operative "This eG" has bought a house here that is simply overpriced to protect tenants from future speculation.

Photo: dpa / Jens Kalaene

"We are willing to pay more rent because we want to escape investors," says Martin Arndt. He is the tenant of the house Boxhagener Straße 32 in Berlin-Friedrichshain – and now also co-owner of the property through the newly founded housing cooperative »This eG«. On May 17, the district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg had exercised its right of first refusal in the protected area for the benefit of the cooperative. On May 27, followed the house Forster Street 1 in Kreuzberg and on 7 June, finally, the Krossener Straße 36 in Friedrichshain. Seven more houses could follow in the near future.

What unites all the houses: Their selling price was so high that no state-owned housing company saw itself economically able to acquire the houses. 3800 euros per square meter is the average price for the real estate. In real estate terms, if the loans for the acquisition are to be paid as usual in 30 years, this results in a net cold rent of € 14.25 per square meter per month, in addition to operating costs of € 1.25. This is explained by Werner Landwehr, head of the Berliner branch of the charitable GLS Bank and one of the directors of »eG« on Thursday evening in the Kreuzberg »Forum Factory« at the first public presentation of the cooperative.

Quite as high as the rent should not turn out then, calculated to 30 years should be due on average 8.50 net cold per month. With an initial rent of six euros would be at four percent annual increase in the end, so in 2050, almost twelve euros per square meter be necessary for the loan would be repaid. This is to be made possible by a ten percent subsidy from the Finance Senator for the acquisition, which can be claimed by state-owned housing associations as well as subsidized loans from the state-owned Investitionsbank Berlin. In return, for at least 30 years, at least one quarter of the apartments must be occupied by people entitled to a residence permit. "I should by Finance Senator Matthias Kollatz Align: He supports the 'This eG', because it relieves the normal right of first refusal by cooperative living," says a party friend, the SPD Bundestag Cansel Kiziltepe.

In addition, the tenants are entitled to the purchase of cooperative shares – for 500 euros per square meter of living space. Cindy Lautenbach from Krossener Straße 36 reports: "We got out of the pines first," but at least the cooperative shares are also a kind of savings plan. And these too can be stuttered. For a period of 20 years, 2.30 per month and square meter are additionally due. "As residents, we are very interested in taking everyone with us. Even those who can not afford it, "explains Lautenbach. Interested parties can also purchase shares through a solidarity fund in order to lower the burden on the tenants. "I wish that people who are heirs, instead of buying a convertible, prefer to brew the money in there," says Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg building councilor Florian Schmidt (Grüne).

LEFT rental expert Gaby Gottwald has doubts about the model of "This eG," when all the others no longer buy. "I do not want to say that's wrong. My point is that if I buy such expensive houses and pair them with a social project, then you have to think about whether the whole package makes sense, "said the MP, who also criticizes the so-called voluntary rent increases on purchases by state-owned housing companies. "With something like that, you might even shoot the right of first refusal," she fears.

"Of course there is a lot and certainly legitimate criticism of the model," replies Arndt, who also sits on the board of "This eG". "The cooperative is an opportunity for us," continues Arndt.

"Of course Gaby Gottwald is right somewhere," admits Baustadrat Schmidt. He wanted to get to the point in Berlin where Vienna is: with more than half of the apartments in municipal or cooperative ownership instead of the current one-quarter. "If I save a house and take it off the market, then I have basically achieved the class goal of protecting my environment," says Schmidt.

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