It’s not like any other annual general meeting. The atmosphere in the cafe kitsch seems businesslike, sober, serious. There’s no talking shop about sporting successes or a good cash position. The members of the tenants’ association have quite different problems on their minds. This meeting is about elementary concerns.
Situation in KWG apartments
Legal adviser sabine gross deals with individual cases. There is talk of a less than charming tone of behavior by those responsible for the building towards the tenants and even of a threat of legal action against the association. An annoyed shaking of heads from the numerous listeners accompanies their statements.
Gross also reports that some of the criticized deficiencies in the buildings of the former kronach housing association (KWG) have now been corrected. In one case, it was even possible to save a tenant more than 1,000 euros by recalculating an apparently excessive heating bill. The members knock approvingly on the tables. The legal advisor notes that the tenants’ association’s approaches to the relevant authorities are often a waiting game as well. A major step has been taken, however, in that no more collection agencies will be called in in the future. There had been major problems here, especially under the former owner of the buildings, which now belong to union investment.
What the apartment may cost
There were also a number of "tenant increase requests averted and schufa entries can be reversed. "But it didn’t go as easily as everyone said it would", sabine gross emphasizes the latter point. "In one case it took four months – it’s bad."
And above all, the list of problems is far from complete. There are still enough difficulties, whether because of mold in the buildings, a leaking roof, janitorial work that is more frustrating than relieving, or impertinent responses to complaints. "Sometimes you really despair", says the legal advisor.
New rent increases
But the biggest thorn in the association’s side is a different issue. "It looks like there will be new rent increases", explains big. For some tenants, this would be the third increase in around five years. In the area of the flugelbahnhof, letters to this effect have already fluttered into the houses. The talk was of a 20 percent increase. Gross pointed out that rents have not kept pace with the increase in these costs.
"Exactly!", scold two women with serious mine. Shortly it becomes louder. The tenants are now speaking out. They recall what they themselves have done to the apartments because nothing has been done for years. And now they were allowed to pay for their commitment.
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With this, gross moved on to a hot topic: "unfortunately, without a qualified rent index, it is not possible to predict how a court will decide in a lawsuit in the area in which an increase has taken place." the rejection of this rent index by the city council causes trouble in the round. "Such a G’schmarre!", rages one man. And gross suspects that the council members probably find it difficult to get into the heads of the tenants and the situation of the association. Tenants are few and far between in the committee.
But one member criticized not only the landlords and the politicians, but also his own address: "the plus point for the others is that the tenants are not in agreement with one another. If everyone worked together, we could accomplish more!"
For gross, this is the core of the association’s further work: "the more people get behind us, the rougher it will be. Our influence is growing all the more." and again the members nod. Objective, calm – and with a sober mine.
That’s what the landlord side says
Deutsche asset one had acquired the kronach KWG apartments for a union investment fund and now represents the owner. In response to our question about the rent increases, ulrich nagel, head of the koln office, comments. He explains that the owner of the apartments is not responsible for rent increases before the purchase to the 1. January 2018.
"In the entire year 2018, as agreed with the seller, we have not pronounced any rent increase. To the 1. April 2019, we have a new contract for a certain part of our portfolio and, as of 1 january 2019, a new contract. October 2019 moderate rent increases pronounced for another subpopulation.", nagel states. In this respect, not all leases are affected by the decrease. And nagel continues: "these increases are in both cases below the legally permitted mab, in order to keep the rental agreements socially contractual."
Asked about the allegedly sometimes rough tone toward tenants and the office hours, nagel explains: "direct communication with tenants is handled by a service provider commissioned by us. We will be scheduling a meeting with the service provider in the near future to discuss the above points."