The "Fantastic Four" performed on the stage in Bochum's Ruhrstadion on Friday evening, with employees from the Vonovia housing group in the audience.

He had invited to the "Vonovia Day", also to welcome the employees from the multi-billion takeover of the competitor Deutsche Wohnen to the company.

"Blame it on us, you can keep the rest," the musicians sang, among other things, and that must have sounded familiar to the employees - after all, they are the ones who talk to the tenants on site and have to pay for it when it's for them Residents are giving bad news again.

Jonas Jansen

Business correspondent in Düsseldorf.

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It was only in June that Vonovia CEO Rolf Buch irritated with the suggestion that rents should be linked to the inflation rate.

After heavy pressure from politics, he backtracked a bit.

On Tuesday, the largest private landlord in Germany, which owns a good 490,000 apartments in this country, caused a stir with a document on Investor Day.

It said that the housing group wants to terminate tenants if necessary if they do not meet their payment obligations for months, for example because the sharply increased additional costs are too high.

"Last resort: sending out the eviction notice," the documents say.

In the social networks in particular, this fueled the expropriation debate on Tuesday, which has not only smoldered since the majority of Berliners voted in a referendum in September last year for the socialization of large real estate groups.

At its trade union day, IG Bau also called for the partial nationalization of large housing groups such as Vonovia on Monday.

The debate about living space is emotional.

"No one needs to worry"

Alone: ​​Vonovia itself does not want to throw out tenants, Buch has repeatedly emphasized that recently and also justified it with moral responsibility.

"Nobody has to worry about losing the apartment because of increased additional costs," he tweeted a week ago, on Tuesday he repeated: "If a tenant has problems and contacts us, we will find a solution."

A closer look at the documents also makes this clearer for the investors: the group draws a step-by-step model there, Vonovia first contacts the tenants to find out the reasons for the default in payment.

If the tenants are entitled to state aid, there is also information on how to apply for it.

There are also individual solutions, such as an agreement on deferred payments or installment payments.

Only if the tenants continue to fail to meet their obligations is there a formal request for payment.

If the arrears reach the sum of two months' rent, there could be an eviction lawsuit in an emergency and the last step and the apartment could be rented out.

Around 55 percent of the heating in Vonovia's portfolio is supplied with gas, and the company has been warning its tenants for a long time that they have to be prepared for sharply rising utility bills.

The company is already reducing the temperature in the buildings between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. to save energy.

The tenants have been contacted so that they can adjust their monthly prepayments, and the housing group is now sometimes increasing its tenants' down payments for electricity and gas on its own, as it said when asked.

Vonovia advances payments

Of course, Vonovia first advances the payments to the energy supplier as a landlord and then has to take care of recovering the expenses.

Under certain circumstances, this can be financially challenging if there are too many defaulting tenants, which is why the housing group has an interest in controlling the additional burden of increased energy costs beforehand in order to cushion this.

At the same time, the company itself is also suffering from inflation, because interest rates and construction costs are rising significantly.

Meanwhile, the share price is flying low, since the beginning of the year the price of the Dax group has lost a good half of its value, on Tuesday it fell to a new five-year low.

The company is currently unable to finance itself properly on the capital market, which is why Vonovia recently changed its strategy and wants to sell every new building directly.

The company is also looking for partners for its housing stock in Sweden and Baden-Württemberg, such as pension funds or sovereign wealth funds such as Norges, which are already major shareholders in Vonovia.

However, the housing group wants to retain the majority and continue to manage the buildings itself. This involves 60,000 units, i.e. a little more than 10 percent of the entire stock of 550,000 apartments.

In addition, the management is preparing real estate packages for sale, which involves apartments and single-family houses with a volume of around 13 billion euros.

The care properties that Vonovia brought into its portfolio with the Deutsche Wohnen takeover may also be sold under certain circumstances. This involves 72 senior citizens' facilities, which at the end of 2021 have a fair value of 1.