Society and Customers

This section looks at the issues of satisfaction, portfolio , tenant health and safety, affordable rents and the creation of living space, as well as neighborhood development and social commitment (see Materiality Matrix). You can also find other key information on these aspects in the chapter entitled “Our Service Promise”.

Customer Satisfaction

Customers are Vonovia’s top priority. It is their satisfaction with, and appreciation of, our products and services that contribute to the company’s success in the long term. This is reflected in the , the Customer Satisfaction Index, and is an element used in determining Management Board remuneration as a direct, non-financial control parameter. BUWOG Group GmbH in Austria also uses an annual customer satisfaction survey as a tool, although it is not consistent with the CSI – while customer satisfaction is a fundamental benchmark for all business processes at Victoria Park AB as well. In 2019, we want to establish an even stronger regional presence for Vonovia on location in order to bring us even closer to our customers.

Portfolio Maintenance, Health, Safety and Quality of Life

We offer our tenants attractive and livable homes by making extensive investments – encompassing our entire portfolio in Germany, Austria and Sweden – in maintenance and modernization. We employ modern standards in our corresponding measures and select the building materials carefully. When it comes to , for example, we only use selected and tested materials and explicitly subject the companies performing the measures to the obligation to use them. We are also constantly keeping an eye on product innovations in order to create the best product for our customers. We offer conversion measures to meet specific tenant needs via our housing-related services – for example senior-friendly apartment conversions – and make mobility and security solutions available.

Affordable Rents and Creation of Homes

One aspect that is of fundamental importance to Vonovia is being able to offer all tenants the prospect of being able to stay in their homes in the long term. Nobody should have to move out of a Vonovia apartment due to their financial resources. As much as costly energy-efficient modernization measures are necessary in order to ensure appropriate climate protection as well as increase the appeal and comfort of our apartments on the one hand, on the other hand, they rely on acceptance among and affordability for our tenants. This motivated our decision not to realize the costly modernization projects planned for Germany as part of the 2019/2020 program if they increase rents by more than two euros per square meter. As far as our ongoing modernization projects are concerned, we have promised all tenants reporting social or economic hardship that we will evaluate their cases carefully and pursue a fair approach. Significant funds have been made available for this purpose. In 2018, 20 additional employees were appointed nationwide to deal exclusively with the management of personal hardship cases on location. In Sweden, on the other hand, Vonovia will be expanding its modernization work via Victoria Park AB.

New construction also plays a key role when it comes to making affordable living space available. This is where the BUWOG companies’ development program, in particular, comes into play in both Germany and Austria.

Detailed information on relevance, functioning, concepts, due diligence processes and measures, targets and performance indicators relating to the topics referred to in the sections above are detailed further in the chapter entitled “Our Service Promise”.

Neighborhood Development

Vonovia believes that all areas in which it has large contiguous groups of buildings offer particular opportunities. Holistic neighborhood development is one of the areas that offers the greatest development potential for our company. Neighborhood development includes key measures extending beyond modernization and maintenance to include the creation of homes using new construction and vertical expansion measures, as well as measures to shape the residential environment within neighborhoods. In the current fiscal year, eleven neighborhood development projects encompassing a total of around 6,800 residential units are already in the operational implementation stage across Germany as part of the neighborhood development investment program. With a planned investment volume of more than € 400 million alone for the neighborhood development projects already being implemented, we believe that we are making sustainable improvements to our neighborhoods and expect further neighborhood development measures to be launched in the future, too.

Key performance indicator








Investment volume in the 2018 fiscal year for neighborhood development projects


€ 46.9 million






Development measures take into account both economic and social criteria and are implemented in tandem with the city and municipal authorities. Making sure that the measures taken suit the target group in question is absolutely essential. The aim is to achieve a long-term increase in the value of our property portfolio, which is reflected in visible improvements for our customers in the quality of the living space and the attractiveness of the neighborhood alike.

Regional responsibility for neighborhood development lies with the regional managers, who coordinate measures with the regional managing directors. The measures are increasingly implemented by our own neighborhood developers on-site in the neighborhoods, which allows us to deal with special issues that come up as needed.

The investment measures are bundled in a neighborhood development plan spanning a period of several years and expanded to include further measures. These measures comprise infrastructure improvements for any demolition measures that have to be taken, the realization of holistic energy concepts and urban development issues. These components are already given due consideration during the planning phase of the development projects of the BUWOG companies.

“Soft” factors are also of fundamental importance when it comes to implementing neighborhood development measures. We often have to take conflicting interests into account. The active involvement of residents, public interest groups and other stakeholders in the neighborhood, as well as in cooperation with federal states and municipalities will help identify solutions to create livable neighborhoods. In this way, our tenants are involved in designing the residential environment (for example, in tenant workshops, measures allowing them to actively contribute to facade and playground design, route/pathway design, etc.), among other things. Participation and extensive communication involving all partners is a key component for the successful implementation of large neighborhood development projects.

We use collaboration with social projects to foster community spirit and dialog within neighborhoods, for example by also giving our older tenants the opportunity to remain in their familiar environment for as long as possible (e.g. by establishing a shared residential facility for individuals suffering from dementia). Needs-based and functional cooperation projects with social agencies are a key component of the concept neighborhood development process. Other components can include promoting educational and cultural projects. We have various instruments for implementation at our disposal in this regard, for example providing financial support via our foundations or making premises available. We focus on providing support in three areas “Education,” “Culture” and “Community Spirit.” Our donations and sponsorship guidelines allow this topic to be tackled in a structured manner. We are also constantly looking into potential neighborhood development innovations in order to pick up on trends and opportunities early on, for example in the area of electromobility, photovoltaics, rainwater recycling or digitization.

In Sweden, Victoria Park AB has already been pursuing a special approach for some years now: Victoria Park’s programs get unemployed people involved in the company’s neighborhood development projects. They take on the role of residential coaches or environment wardens, acting as role models and a point of contact on location.

Terms such as “living neighborhoods” or “livable neighborhoods” show that quality of living is increasingly being associated with life at neighborhood level. As a result, neighborhoods are moving into the spotlight of the housing and real estate industry. In many respects, however, there is still a lack of sound research findings. In order to change this, Vonovia SE is sponsoring a professorship for “Neighborhood development, in particular residential living within the neighborhood” at the EBZ Business School – University of Applied Sciences. The aim of the endowment professorship is to research which parameters contribute to successful and forward-looking neighborhood development and what role residential real estate companies can play in this process.

Social Commitment

Vonovia also uses foundations to show its social commitment by providing support to tenants, the rental environment and in cases of social hardship. The company is currently involved in four foundations: Vonovia Stiftung, Vonovia Mieterstiftung e.V., Stiftung Mensch und Wohnen and Stiftung Pro Bochum.

The Vonovia Foundation is a charitable foundation under German civil law. The foundation is committed to social affairs, community life, helping others to help themselves and vocational training. Its mission is to provide help in cases of social hardship to individuals who need assistance, and to promote intact neighborhoods and vocational training. In this respect, the foundation makes a key contribution to shaping and ensuring social and neighborhood cohesion in Vonovia’s properties. It expressly supports active citizenship, personal responsibility and individual initiative within a residential context.

Vonovia Mieterstiftung e.V. comprises an equal number of representatives from tenant associations and Vonovia employees. It aims to foster a sense of community spirit between people from different generations by offering support for young people and senior citizens in the various regions in which the Vonovia Group owns or manages properties.

With its work, the “Mensch und Wohnen” (people and living) Foundation set up by the former GAGFAH focuses on promoting a residential environment that brings young and old people together, and fosters a sense of community spirit between these groups in Vonovia’s housing developments. The foundation finances meeting places, playgrounds and other assistance and support services with a focus on social activities. The foundation only supports charitable work.

The Stiftung Pro Bochum is a cooperation project involving numerous companies based in Bochum to assume responsibility, within the city boundaries, for the city itself and the place where the company has its registered headquarters. The project provides support to cultural, academic and sports-related projects within Bochum, in particular.

Key performance indicator








Funds distributed by foundations in 2018 in which Vonovia SE is significantly involved


€ 407,133






In addition, numerous other funding approaches are pursued both by Vonovia SE in Germany, and by BUWOG Group GmbH in Austria and Victoria Park AB in Sweden.

Maintenance covers the measures that are necessary to ensure that the property can continue to be used as intended over its useful life and that eliminate structural and other defects caused by wear and tear, age and weathering effects.
CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index)
The CSI is determined at regular intervals by means of systematic customer surveys and reflects how our services are perceived and accepted by our customers. The CSI is determined on the basis of points given by the customers for our properties and their neighborhood, customer service and commercial and technical support as well as maintenance and modernization management.
Modernization Measures
Modernization measures are long-term and sustainable value-enhancing investments in housing and building stocks. Energy-efficient refurbishments generally involve improvements to the building shell and communal areas as well as the heat and electricity supply systems. Typical examples are the installation of heating systems, the renovation of balconies and the retrofitting of prefabricated balconies as well as the implementation of energy-saving projects, such as the installation of double-glazed windows and heat insulation, e.g., facade insulation, insulation of the top story ceilings and basement ceilings. In addition to modernization of the apartment electrics, the refurbishment work upgrades the apartments, typically through the installation of modern and/or accessible bathrooms, the installation of new doors and the laying of high-quality and non-slip flooring. Where required, the floor plans are altered to meet changed housing needs.