Berlin – The controversial purchase of around 15,000 apartments from Deutsche Wohnen and Vonovia by the State of Berlin is a done deal. On Monday, the supervisory boards of the state-owned housing associations Howoge and Degewo gave the green light for the deal, as the Berliner Zeitung learned. The supervisory board of the state-owned Berlinovo, the third purchaser on the part of Berlin, had already given its approval last week.
The three state-owned companies are acquiring a total of 14,754 apartments and 443 commercial units from Deutsche Wohnen and Vonovia. According to reports, the purchase price will amount to around 2.4 billion euros. According to information from the Berliner Zeitung, Howoge is taking over the majority of the accommodation with almost 8,300 apartments, Berlinovo is acquiring a good 4,000 apartments and Degewo around 2,400 apartments.
Notarial signature expected shortly
The notarial signing of the purchase agreements is expected shortly. The Senate Department for Finance had announced this for mid-September. The House of Representatives is not involved in the decision itself. Finance Senator Matthias Kollatz (SPD) had informed the parliamentarians last week about the planned transaction, but at the same time pointed out that the approval of the House of Representatives was not required because no state funds are required.
The largest proportion of the apartments to be purchased is located in Spandau, the political home of SPD parliamentary group leader Raed Saleh, with 3,408 accommodations. This is followed by the Steglitz-Zehlendorf district with 2,464 apartments and Neukölln, the home of SPD top candidate Franziska Giffey, with 2009 apartments. The lowest number of apartments is in Tempelhof-Schöneberg at 155.
Originally 20,0000 apartments were offered
The transaction is part of a “future and social pact” that Vonovia and Deutsche Wohnen offered the State of Berlin in May when they announced their planned merger. Governing Mayor Michael Müller and Finance Senator Matthias Kollatz (both SPD) accepted the offer with joy. Finally, two years ago, Müller had expressed the wish to buy back the apartments from GSW, which was privatized in 2004. Today GSW belongs to Deutsche Wohnen.
Initially, there was talk of around 20,000 apartments that Vonovia and Deutsche Wohnen wanted to sell to the State of Berlin. But because in the end, according to Kollatz, “an agreement could not be reached for all the properties on offer”, 14,754 apartments are now going to the State of Berlin.
Criticism from the coalition partners
The coalition partners of the SPD – Left and Greens – criticize, as reported, that many details of the business are not yet known, such as the renovation costs for the apartments and the consequences for the new building programs. They therefore called for further clarification, and Greens parliamentary group leader Antje Kapek even indirectly brought up the establishment of a parliamentary committee of inquiry.