Last summer, Deutsche Wohnen [German Housing] announced that it will incorporate the Berlin-based real estate company GSW. For the tenants affected this will mean higher rents and the threat of displacement. The investors of the property fund anticipate high profits.
Which dimensions are we talking about?
- From 2011 to 2013, Deutsche Wohnen tripled their profit.
- GSW can look back on a 14% annual increase in rent generating a 12% increase in total annual profit.
- Since the merger, Deutsche Wohnen is now the second biggest housing company and real estate owner in Germany. Together, GSW and Deutsche Wohnen own close to 110,000 flats in Berlin alone.
What the tenants of GSW-flats can expect from the future can be seen by taking a look at the Onkel-Tom-Siedlung [a housing estate owned by GSW] whose rents have continued to rise, or at the district of Lichtenberg, where GSW plans to spend 20 Mio. for the “modernization“ of flats – all in the name of profit! Moreover, GSW owns about 1000 flats at Kottbusser Tor, where social tenants have been protesting for 2 years against exploding rents.
The property of Deutsche Wohnen/GSW also includes a couple of hundred flats which were given to them by the state under the condition that they would be used for social housing. The affected tenants’ struggle for transparency and adherence to the contract has been going on for many years.
At the end of the 90′s, most of the people from Berlin who are now affected by the commercial interests of investors from GSW/DW were living in state-owned houses. The Berlin senate first privatized the Gehag [another communal housing company] and in 2004 the GSW. By now, both companies belong to Deutsche Wohnen – the last step of the transfer of state property to the international financial markets.
Since the start of the real estate and financial crisis, “global players“ are looking for new secure investments which promise ongoing rates of high profit. They are speculating that the real estate-market of Berlin will offer such opportunities.
…But Berlin is not a good opportunity for investors!
During the European days of action against neoliberal crisis-policies at the expense of the poor, we will pay a visit to GSW and remind them of their biggest risk: organized tenants, willing to resist any attempt to displace us, or sell out our neighbourhoods!
The dream of profits rising by 20% and more that was promised to the investors will not be fulfilled! Because we, the residents of Berlin, will fight for our right to the city!