We are seeing huge challenges in the housing sector: urbanisation, climate change and demographic change. All of these affect companies and society in equal measure. However, investments in holdings and new construction made as a result of these challenges should not be at the expense of tenants and must be socially responsible. This is why we will focus on the capabilities of each individual in future and thus relieve our tenants of any anxiety that they might lose their home due to renovation measures or future increases in rent.
You can find more questions and answers on our tenant promise here.
For potential rent increases following refurbishment, we are not taking advantage of the permitted eight per cent charge. Instead, we will cap gross warm rents at the point they would exceed 30 per cent of the household’s net income. In many cases, this means that we are waiving the entire charge and bearing the full costs ourselves. For rent rises in line with the rent index, our tenants can declare financial hardship if the net cold rent exceeds 30 per cent of the net household income – even if the rent index would permit further rises. Since our tenant promise came into force, we also allocate 25 per cent of our residential units to people who are entitled to a certificate of eligibility to live in public housing or to groups with specific requirements.
You can find more questions and answers on our tenant promise here.
In Berlin, the average rent at Deutsche Wohnen is EUR 7.09 per square metre. This is slightly above the average rent of EUR 6.79 per square metre set out in the new 2021 Berlin rent index.
Across Germany, Deutsche Wohnen tenants pay an average of EUR 7.12 per square metre. By way of comparison: the average rent in Germany in 2020 was EUR 7.11 per square metre, according to the F+B rent index.
Accordingly, if we only consider newly let residential units, the current average rent for Deutsche Wohnen is EUR 9.31 per square metre. This is far below the average quoted rent of EUR 10.15 per square metre stated in the CBRE Berlin Wohnmarktreport for 2020.
In principle, Deutsche Wohnen sees the rent index as a useful tool for calculating local comparable rent. However, a qualified rent index must be drawn up in line with scientific principles and founded on statistics. In our view, the Berlin rent index does not yet fulfil these requirements.
Despite this, Deutsche Wohnen supports the decision of the Berlin Senate to update its table of representative rents in line with the cost of living index. Following the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court on the so-called rent cap, it is particularly important to work together to develop solutions to the challenges posed by Berlin’s housing market. An index-linked rent can be a helpful approach to achieving transparent and consistent nationwide standards.
Deutsche Wohnen shall continue, as before, to use the Berlin rent index to review rent levels and to forego other permitted methods such as comparative flats in the locality or expert appraisals.
In 2019, our rental income rose by 3.4%. New letting was responsible for a rise of 1.9%. When this is taken out of the equation, it’s clear that before the introduction of the rent cap, our portfolio rent rose by a modest 1.5% on average, including refurbishment.
We reinvest more than half of rental income into maintenance and refurbishment of our portfolio.
Deutsche Wohnen’s profit is made up of earnings from residential property management, but also of earnings from other business segments as well. The revaluation of our holdings has a particularly significant influence on the company’s operating result. The value of our properties is rising because the economy is very buoyant and because large numbers of people are moving into Germany’s metropolitan regions. This has an impact on the operating result and makes up a large part of our earnings.
Our business model can only work if it is sustainable and long-term oriented. The dividend yield per share is around 2.5%. The yield is the dividend payment calculated as a percentage of the average value of the share. With a 2.5% dividend yield, Deutsche Wohnen is slightly below average of the scale of all 30 DAX companies.
No, it isn’t true. In 2020, Deutsche Wohnen invested a total of around EUR 365 million (EUR 36 per m²) in its portfolio. Of the overall investment in maintenance and refurbishment, around 29% was spent on maintenance, around 29% on measures relating to a change of tenant, around 30% on non-apportionable maintenance costs resulting from complex refurbishment projects and around 13% on apportionable modernisation work. Overall, Deutsche Wohnen has invested around EUR 1.25 billion in the refurbishment and upkeep of its housing portfolio in the past three years alone.
Deutsche Wohnen does not speculate with flats. Rather, we are interested in managing our holdings over the long term. This is why we adopt refurbishment measures to keep our properties up to a contemporary standard both in terms of their technical installations and their energy efficiency. In addition, we equip our properties to ensure that they are intergenerational and meet the standards typical of today’s market. Finally, we adapt them to meet what are new challenges and opportunities in the area of digitisation.
It is true that, with approximately 110,000 rental flats in Berlin, Deutsche Wohnen is the largest private residential property company in the city. However, given the fact that there are more than 1.9 million flats in Berlin, this represents a market share of merely 6%. By comparison, public housing corporations – taken together – hold more than 320,000 flats in the city. This represents a market share of approximately 17%.
When it comes to modernisation work, our tenants can, of course, make an application to be considered as a financial hardship case if the apportionable costs are going to be too much for them. When we first write to tenants to announce any planned modernisation work, we specifically draw their attention to the fact that this entitlement exists. Then we confirm to tenants who make this application that we have taken note of their situation and that we will approach them – unprompted – at the time when we have calculated the apportionable costs. Deutsche Wohnen uses the benchmark of rent including operating costs and heating to decide hardship cases. This enables us to ensure that, following the apportionment of modernisation costs, our tenants do not have to pay more than 30% of their net household income for rent. The requirement for this is that tenants inform us of their hardship by the stated deadline and that, when the apportionable modernisation costs have been calculated, they produce proof of their income situation (e.g. salary statement, pension statement or notification of approval for the payment of benefits). If the documents submitted by the tenant confirm that this is a hardship case, the apportionable modernisation costs will be reduced accordingly – down, in some cases, to zero.
In 2020, Deutsche Wohnen invested a total of 365 million Euro in maintenance, repair and modernisation work on its holdings. A major part of this investment sum cannot be apportioned to the rent. We bear these costs ourselves. For example, in the railway workers’ estate in Gallwitzallee (Berlin-Lankwitz), approximately 70% of the total investment sum is being used for repair work and so these costs are borne entirely by Deutsche Wohnen. The remaining 30% is the basis for statutorily permissible apportionment of 8% – with due consideration given, of course, to individual financial hardship cases.
Yes. For many years, we have supported women who experience domestic violence. We work closely with a variety of women’s refuges and aid organisations and provide living space to support them. Since 2019, we’ve partnered with the Sozialdienst katholischer Frauen e.V. (SkF) on the “Housing First für Frauen” (“Housing First for Women”) project, which helps homeless women live safely and free from violence, in their own four walls. In the past year, we also rented around 11% of commercial spaces in our portfolio to social organisations, often with significant rent reductions.