Privatization and globalization of rental housing in Germany


Viterra AG (E.on) continues the sale of former company flats. NRW government is negotiating with the E.on government about minimum agreements relating security of tenancy in cases of sale. Some progress is made by trade unionists regarding the security of tenancy of employees who live in company flats. A new tenants’ coalition against Viterra privatization has been founded.

– Decisions about the sale of GAGFAH, the social housing company if the public pension fund BfA (82.000 flats) is nearly complete. Two international investment funds are competing finally. Terra Firma (Japanese Nomura Group, Annington) offers 2,2 billion (plus the loans) and some social conditions. U.S. based Fortress (private pension funds) offers 2 billion. This is little more than 1 day costs of the pensions. Tenants associations and trade unions are lobbying for conditions which will regulate privatisations of the flats and ensure that the company will not be cut into pieces.

– E.on decided to sell the Viterra AG. The sale is managed by U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley. The value of the company with more than 150.000 flats is estimated at 6,2 billion Euro. The sell is expected within this year.

– A Berlin council housing company has been sold to another investment fund. More sales are planned in several cities.

– The structure of ownership and control in the German housing market is changing rapidly. Public and local/regional company land lords, which traditionally focused on renting, get replaced by international vultures, which are orientated on trade and sale and make their money by cutting the housing stocks into pieces. This means that the tenants in Germany have directly to deal with globalized speculators. This is a really new situation raising many questions regarding the internationalisation of struggles. E.g. the same investment groups have been main actors of privatisation in Britain.

– One possible task of HIC would be the organization information share about these global vultures.

Source: Witten Tenats Association/Habiatat Net. Knut Unger