Our top priorities at the moment are the affordability of housing and the quest to promote climate protection. The challenge for us lies in reconciling these two aspects and turning the resulting conflict into a positive outcome – also in view of the waning social acceptance for modernization measures.
The public debate has had a marked impact on how society sees Vonovia. It is a challenge for us to gain acceptance of the benefit for the community that Vonovia offers through its varied areas of activity.
We use needs-based and sustainable construction and liveable neighborhoods to make our homes more attractive and to enhance Vonovia’s reputation as a landlord. Our neighborhood measures as well as our property caretakers and neighborhood managers bring us closer, and allow us to strengthen our ties to our tenants, which has a positive impact on our public image. This also allows us to enable tenants to stay in their apartments for the long term.
The size of our company and the standardization of processes such as serial construction allows us to generate cost and quality advantages for our customers in a large number of areas, and also to increase efficiency, shorten construction and processing times and compensate for capacity bottlenecks more easily.
The discussions in the political and public arena highlight the fact that our business and our activities are generally associated with the risk of a loss of reputation, e.g., resulting from the allocation of costs for modernization measures to tenants. This risk can have a detrimental impact on tenant satisfaction and on the demand for our apartments.
A trend in which rents do not develop in line with people’s incomes can make housing too expensive for a large number of people. For Vonovia, this translates into a risk of payment defaults and an increasing number of individual hardship cases.
Extensive construction measures are increasingly associated with rising construction costs and longer construction times, e.g., due to long administrative processes. These measures are also often rejected by residents (“not in my backyard”). This development can reduce the incentive to create new housing, as it entails financial risks for Vonovia and the risk of reduced commercial viability.
The statutory requirements that building contractors and landlords have to meet are becoming more stringent and more complex to implement. In addition, the rent freeze in Berlin considerably restricts the financial leeway available for rents and modernization measures, and the locations protected by the “rent ceiling” are being expanded in other federal states, too. Increased costs can mean that planned measures are not cost-effective.