Germany’s tenants believe it is property companies’ duty to make a significant contribution to tackling the coronavirus pandemic. In an opinion poll by market research institute Civey, almost two-thirds of those surveyed (63%) said they expected more goodwill from their landlord for rent arrears. Over half (51.1%) of respondents believe property and housing companies need to take more social responsibility in the crisis as a whole.
According to the survey, one in six tenants across Germany (16.6%) fears they will become unable to pay rent during the coronavirus pandemic. In a comparison of German federal states, tenants in Saxony-Anhalt (22.8%) and Bavaria (19.2%) emerge as the most concerned. Tenants in Berlin, at around 15%, are a little less concerned than the national average.
Deutsche Wohnen is also aware of growing uncertainty among its tenants and clients. “We are doing all we can to continue to offer the best possible service, in spite of the extraordinary circumstances, and provide additional support to our tenants and service providers where needed,” says Lars Urbansky, Management Board member in charge of business operations.
Deutsche Wohnen sets up support fund worth EUR 30 million
In addition to the statutory rent moratorium, which permits rent deferrals lasting up to two years, two weeks ago Deutsche Wohnen announced its own coronavirus support fund worth EUR 30 million. This fund aims to offer tenants and long-term business partners assistance in areas not covered by state support. “We are doing our bit to help stop economic emergencies becoming social ones,” says Chief Executive Officer Michael Zahn.
A planned dividend waiver by company shareholders will fund the scheme. Work is currently under way on the specific arrangements and the company will have more information on this soon. Private and commercial tenants who have ended up in financial difficulties as a result of the coronavirus crisis are already encouraged to get in touch with Deutsche Wohnen.
Beyond the situation’s financial impact, the Civey poll suggests landlords also need to improve their information policy: around 60% of tenants of residential units, homes and offices surveyed feel landlords are not giving them enough information on the limitations and opportunities available for them as tenants during the pandemic; only around 20% are satisfied with their landlords in this regard.
Deutsche Wohnen strives to meet the increased demand for information through active communication via all its channels. The company’s service staff are also available to contact while working from home. Many caretakers are on-site and holding down the fort at residential complexes – partly thanks to a large number of colleagues who interrupted their holidays to cover staff shortages. Deutsche Wohnen constantly provides updated information on its website, including on statutory support schemes.