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Berlin, 11.04.2019

Facts

  1. The requested net cold rent, at EUR 7.93/m², is within the rent index range.
     
  2. The requested net cold rent of EUR 7.93/m² is below the upper limit of the relevant rent index I 2 (EUR 8.10/m²). As the rent in question is partly inclusive (gross cold rent), operating costs of EUR 1.18/m² must be added.


As part of the proceedings, the court obtained an expert appraisal regarding the suitability of the 2015 Berlin rent index. The expert appointed by the court came to the conclusion that the rent index was not drawn up based on recognised scientific principles. Accordingly, the court found that the 2015 Berlin rent index was not a suitable basis for estimation.

Consequently, the court commissioned another appraisal to establish the typical comparative rent for the local area. Taking into account comparable properties, the appraiser came to the conclusion that the comparative rent was higher than requested in the suit.

In principle, Deutsche Wohnen believes a rent index to be a suitable tool for determining typical comparative rent for the local area. However, we feel that the court’s expert appraisal and the decision of the Berlin District Court confirm our view that the 2015 Berlin rent index was not drawn up in compliance with scientific rules and therefore does not meet the requirements of a qualified rent index. Despite this, we will continue to apply the Berlin rent index for our rent increase requests.

Checking the claims

  1. Tagesspiegel claim: Deutsche Wohnen/GEHAG took legal action to set rent above the Berlin rent index limit. The rent pushes the upper limit of the rent index.

    Fact: The rent does not push the upper limit of the rent index. The requested net cold rent confirmed by the court is EUR 7.93/m². The upper limit of the relevant rent index range is EUR 8.10/m².
     
  2. Tagesspiegel claim: In this case, Deutsche Wohnen drew on comparative apartments to justify its request for an increase.

    Fact: That is not correct. The request for an increase was justified on the basis of the 2015 rent index.
     
  3. Tagesspiegel claim: The court could not see any suitable basis for estimation in the rent index but did not justify why the expert appraisal fulfilled this criterion.

    Fact: That is not correct. The court obtained an expert appraisal regarding the suitability, or quality, of the 2015 rent index. The expert appointed by the court established that the rent index was not drawn up based on recognised scientific principles. Accordingly, the court found that the rent index was not a suitable basis for estimation.
     
  4. Tagesspiegel claim: An expert appraisal establishing the typical comparative rent for the local area would not be influenced by nearly as many rental values as the rent index.

    Fact: That is not correct. The expert determined the typical comparative rent for the local area to be EUR 8.06/m², taking into account 13 comparable properties. At the same time, the 2015 rent index was used as a basis. Taking into account the 2015 rent index, the expert even determined the rent at EUR 8.10/m².
     
  5. Tagesspiegel claim: For Deutsche Wohnen, it pays off to request higher rents than are typical for the local area using appraisals. The appraisal costs are quickly recouped through the higher rent.

    Fact: That is not correct. Deutsche Wohnen has not obtained any appraisals. Deutsche Wohnen justified its request for an increase using the 2015 rent index, not an appraisal. The appraisal was obtained by the court. The appraisal concerns a particular case, an individual, specific tenancy, a specific apartment. The appraisal cannot be transferred to other tenancies/apartments.
     
  6. Tagesspiegel claim: The typical rent for the local area no longer applies to Deutsche Wohnen in Berlin.

    Fact: That is not correct. The court only found/established the typical rent for the local area. According to section 558 of the German Civil Code (BGB), the landlord can only request the typical rent for the local area.


Deutsche Wohnen will also continue to use the Berlin rent index as grounds for its rent increases.