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Left Party leader Janine Wissler: "The state must not stand idly by and watch Vonovia's sell-off plans"


Wolfgang Kumm / dpa

Germany's largest real estate group, Vonovia, is in crisis, and a large debt burden is weighing on the group. From the point of view of the Left Party, it is therefore time to wind up the Bochum-based company by the state.

"With Vonovia's sell-off plans, the state must not stand idly by and must act now," Left Party leader Janine Wissler told SPIEGEL. It proposes to transfer Vonovia's holdings to municipal and state-owned housing companies. "Corporations that do not renovate, drive up rents or systematically harass their tenants must be transferred to public ownership," Wissler said.

The company has clearly shown that speculation with housing does not belong on the stock exchange. When investors try to squeeze money out of real estate, this takes place "in an existentially threatening way on the backs of the tenants". More and more people are suffering from high rents, and affordable housing is in short supply. "It's a shame when the government stands idly by."

Loss of 2.1 billion euros

Vonovia is in distress due to falling real estate prices and high inflation. In the first three months of the year, profit from operations fell by 17.8 percent to 462.6 million euros. However, this was far from enough to make up for the loss in value of the real estate assets. The bottom line is therefore a minus of almost 2.1 billion euros.

The Group has currently put new construction projects on hold. Only projects that have already started would be completed. Vonovia had previously announced that it would cut its investments in energy-efficient refurbishment by 2023 percent for 40 to just EUR 850 million.

Observers fear that rents will soon rise. So far, rents at Vonovia have risen by between three and four percent over the past five years. In 2021, Vonovia also committed itself in a deal with the Berlin Senate to increase rents in Berlin by only a maximum of 1 percent per year for three years – the city bought 20,000 residential units for this purpose.