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Berlin set to buy 20.000 apartments in Vonovia-Deutsche Wohnen merger

Berlin set to buy 20.000 apartments in Vonovia-Deutsche Wohnen merger

Berlin set to buy 20.000 apartments in Vonovia-Deutsche Wohnen merger

As part of its merger with Deutsche Wohnen, the Vonovia Group is offering the state of Berlin the chance to buy more than 20.000 apartments in the capital. The two property giants say they want to show the Senate that they are committed to tackling the housing crisis. 

Germany’s two biggest property companies to merge

Germany’s largest private apartment rental company, Vonovia, is once again attempting to take over its biggest market rival, Deutsche Wohnen. The group announced plans for the 19-billion-euro merger on Monday. If approved by shareholders, the deal would create a huge real estate company with more than half a million homes across the country. 

“In order to tackle both the housing shortage and climate change more robustly and efficiently, Vonovia and Deutsche Wohnen are joining forces,” the Vonovia Group announced in a statement late on Monday evening, adding that they want to make more money available for renovations and new building projects. 

Merged group wants to tackle housing shortage in Berlin

Part of this effort will see the two companies joining forces with Berlin, where they collectively own more than 150.000 apartments. Vonovia Boss Rolf Buch said he hoped, together with the Senate, to end the “unsatisfactory state” of insufficient living space in the capital. “We will use our size to meet our social responsibility.” 

Buch announced that the company would offer the Berlin Senate a “Housing Future and Social Pact," according to which rents in Berlin will not rise by more than 1 percent per year over the next three years, and no more than the inflation rate in the following two years. In addition, the cost of renovating apartments in the capital to help save energy would not be passed on in full to tenants. 

As a sweetener, the merged group wants to offer the state 20.000 of its apartments in Berlin for sale. This was confirmed by Berlin Mayor Michael Müller on Tuesday. More housing in municipal hands means more influence over socially-acceptable rents and more security for many tenants. Berlin currently has 340.000 units of social housing.

The two companies hit the headlines earlier this year after the controversial Berlin rent cap was overturned by the Federal Constitutional Court. While Vonovia decided against pursuing back payments from tenants who had had their rents lowered by the cap, Deutsche Wohnen - which is the largest private housing provider in the city - said it intended to make tenants pay back the difference. 

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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