Sustainability Report 2019

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Objectives, Measures and Indicators

We are working continually to ensure long-term tenant loyalty in order to safeguard the basis for our commercial success. We leave nothing to chance in this area and purposefully align all measures that we take to generate positive effects for our customers.

Our overriding objective is to make our homes more attractive in the long term and ensure that they remain affordable. We achieve this by:

  • Continuously boosting customer satisfaction by offering a diverse portfolio of services and improving the quality of service we offer
  • Creating and offering affordable housing that meets the needs of broad sections of the population and continuously increasing the standard of comfort of our properties by carrying out senior-friendly apartment conversions, making voluntary commitments to protect tenants, and modernizing our properties in line with a measured approach
  • Creating vibrant and sustainable neighborhoods by working hand-in-hand with players from urban society in extensive community development programs and by collaborating with social and cultural institutions

Boosting Customer Satisfaction


customers assisted by hardship
management team in 13,200
modernization projects

Our activities focus on our customers and their needs. We are working to boost levels of customer satisfaction in the long run by taking targeted measures. One example is our work to continuously expand our range of housing-related services, i.e., our value-add services. We are also making ongoing improvements to the customer service we offer. Our service centers, caretakers as on-site contacts and the residential neighborhood organization have a decisive role to play in this respect. Our digital customer platforms (customer portal and tenant app) offer numerous self-service functions to complement Vonovia’s personal customer service offering. We are also expanding our hardship management system further to improve the support available to customers in challenging situations.

Ensuring Affordable Housing

We have further strengthened our new construction activities by integrating the BUWOG companies and expanding our technical service. The size of our company gives us advantages in a large number of areas. We can achieve economies of scale and save on costs, allowing us to contribute to the provision of affordable, high-quality housing. Another key success factor is the serial/modular approach to new construction work that we are pursuing and continuously optimizing.

At the same time, regulatory requirements are increasing. The rent freeze introduced in Berlin, the debate there on the expropriation of large residential real estate companies and the debate on the allocation of modernization costs have highlighted a considerable drop in acceptance – even in cases involving improvements that society as a whole wants to see, such as climate protection and measures to improve living standards. The carbon tax that the German government is planning to introduce in 2021 (with a starting price of € 25/ton CO2) will – as important as the move may be in terms of the signal that it sends out regarding climate protection – make housing even more expensive. This makes innovative, jointly developed solutions all the more important.

We want to ensure that housing also remains affordable for customers with limited financial means. This is why we are working with city and municipal authorities to develop individual commitments for subsidized housing in existing buildings. We also made a commitment in 2019 to limiting the costs for modernization work that can be passed on to our customers, and to ensuring affordable housing for people over 70 years of age.

Icon – Paint roller

15,000 apartments
(partially) modernized to make them

Ensuring High Residential Quality and Maintaining the Building Stock

We make sure that we keep the well-being of our tenants at the forefront of our minds in everything we do. We do this, for example, by making sure that we use safe materials selected on the basis of stringent quality requirements, by implementing safety concepts to rid neighborhoods of areas that feel unsafe, and to ensure that playgrounds and green spaces can be used worry-free, and by minimizing the disruption to tenants caused by construction work. The maintenance and improvement of our existing properties are also key aspects. We achieve this first and foremost by implementing maintenance and modernization measures to increase energy efficiency and standards of comfort. In 2017, we set ourselves the target of a refurbishment rate of more than 3% a year for the first time. We achieved a value of 3.7% in the reporting year, allowing us to outstrip our target yet again. We take the needs of our customers into account in the context of these measures, too, e.g., to create senior-friendly (barrier-free or accessible) homes. Particularly in cases involving new buildings or the renovation of vacant apartments, we upgrade our apartments to make them senior-friendly.

> € 900,000

invested in social projects

Making Our Neighborhoods Vibrant and Sustainable

Our stakeholders’ ideas, opinions and suggestions are an important element of Vonovia’s community development work. We have put corresponding processes in place to ensure that this input is taken into account in our plans and decisions at an early stage using various participation concepts. This allows us to work with our stakeholders to find the best solutions for our neighborhoods and to considerably strengthen acceptance of our measures.

In addition, our activities focus on the expansion of construction measures, as they have a significant impact on the quality of living that our homes offer. These include measures for infrastructure links, the design of green spaces and mobility concepts, e.g., to promote e-mobility. Vibrant neighborhoods are characterized by diversity and a good social mix. As a result, we provide support for social and community activities in the neighborhoods by cooperating with local facilities. This also includes taking integration measures, for example, to respond to the migration flows witnessed in recent years and offering people arriving in Germany for the first time a new home.

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