Annual Report 2020

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8 Changes in Accounting Policies, Estimates, Assumptions, Options and Judgments

Changes in Accounting Policies Due to New Standards and Interpretations

The following new or amended standards and interpretations became mandatory for the first time in the 2020 fiscal year. They did not have any material effects on Vonovia’s consolidated financial statements.

  • Amendment to References to the Conceptual Framework in IFRS Standards
  • IAS 1 “Presentation of Financial Statements”
  • IAS 8 “Accounting Policies, Changes in Accounting Estimates and Errors”
  • IAS 39 “Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement”
  • IFRS 3 “Business Combinations”
  • IFRS 7 “Financial Instruments: Disclosures”
  • IFRS 9 “Financial Instruments”
  • IFRS 16 “Leases”


Due to the rent concessions (deferrals, waivers) granted in a large number of countries as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, IFRS 16 was amended to provide companies with an exemption from assessing whether a coronavirus-related rent concession is a lease modification within the meaning of IFRS 16. Instead, they can opt to account for coronavirus-related rent concessions as if they were not lease modifications. This would spare them the work involved in evaluating the lease contracts to check for possible contractually defined rent concessions as well as the work involved in reassessing these contracts applying a new discount rate (which is always required for lease modifications). The relief is limited until June 30, 2021.

No rent concessions were granted by the lessor within the Vonovia Group. This is due primarily to the Group’s encouraging and robust financial position, even in times dominated by the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, the Group is not exercising this option as it is not relevant. The amendments to IFRS 16 do not have any material effects on the consolidated financial statements.

New Standards and Interpretations Not Yet Applied

Application of the following standards, interpretations and amendments to existing standards was not yet mandatory for the 2020 fiscal year. Vonovia also did not choose to apply them in advance. Their application will be mandatory for the fiscal years following the dates stated in the following table:

Relevant New Standards, Interpretations and Amendments to Existing Standards and Interpretations

Effective date for Vonovia




Annual Improvements 2018–2020

Jan. 1, 2022*

Amendments to Standards



“Presentation of Financial Statements”

Jan. 1, 2023*

IAS 16, IAS 37 and IFRS 3

“Property, Plant and Equipment“, “Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets“ and “Business Combinations“

Jan. 1, 2022*


“Insurance Contracts“

Jan. 1, 2021

IAS 39, IFRS 4, IFRS 7, IFRS 9 and IFRS 16

“Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement“, “Insurance Contracts“, “Financial Instruments: Disclosures“, “Financial Instruments“ and “Leases“

Jan. 1, 2021*

New Standards



“Insurance Contracts“

Jan. 1, 2023*

* Not yet endorsed.

Estimates and Assumptions

To a certain extent, the preparation of the consolidated financial statements requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities as of the reporting date as well as reported amounts of income and expenses during the reporting year. The actual amounts may differ from the estimates as the business environment may develop differently than assumed. In this case, the assumptions and, where necessary, the carrying amounts of the assets or liabilities affected are prospectively adjusted accordingly. Specific estimates and assumptions relating to individual elements of financial statements are also explained in the corresponding notes to the consolidated financial statements.

Assumptions and estimates are reviewed on an ongoing basis and are based on experience and other factors, including expectations regarding future events that appear reasonable under the given circumstances.

The estimates and assumptions that may have a material risk of causing an adjustment to the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities mainly relate to the determination of the fair value of investment properties.

The best evidence of fair value of investment properties is current prices in an active market for comparable residential properties. As such information is not completely available, however, Vonovia uses standard valuation techniques.

A detailed description of the discounted cash flow (DCF) method used can be found in chapter [D28] Investment Properties.

In accordance with IAS 40 in conjunction with IFRS 13 the respective market values of the investment properties owned by Vonovia are determined for accounting purposes. Changes in certain market conditions such as prevailing rent levels and vacancy rates may affect the valuation of investment properties. Any changes in the fair value of the investment portfolio are recognized as part of the profit for the period in the Group’s income statement and can thus substantially affect Vonovia’s results of operations.

The statement of financial liabilities at amortized cost using the effective interest method takes the expected contractual cash flows into account. In some cases, the agreements do not have any fixed maturity terms. As a result, the cash flows included in the valuation are subject to management assumptions in terms of amount and term.

As explained in chapter [D26] Intangible Assets, Vonovia checks for goodwill impairments on an annual basis, or if there is any reason to suspect such impairments. The next step involves estimating the recoverable amount of the group of cash-generating units (CGU). This corresponds to either the fair value less costs of sale or the value in use, whichever is higher. Determining the value in use includes adjustments and estimates regarding the forecast and discounting of the future cash flows. Although the management believes that the assumptions used to determine the recoverable amount are appropriate, any unforeseeable changes in these assumptions could result in impairment losses, with a detrimental impact on the net assets, financial position and results of operations.

When determining the volume of current and deferred taxes, the Group takes into account the effects of uncertain tax items and whether additional taxes and interest may be due. This assessment is made on the basis of estimates and assumptions and may contain a number of discretionary decisions about future events. New information may become available that causes the Group to change its discretionary decisions regarding the appropriateness of existing tax liabilities; such changes to tax liabilities will affect the tax expense in the period in which such a change is made.

Deferred tax assets are recognized to the extent that it can be demonstrated that it is probable that future taxable profits will be available against which the temporary difference can be utilized. Deferred tax assets are reviewed at each reporting date and are reduced to the extent that it is no longer probable that there will be sufficient future taxable profits to realize the tax benefit in the future.

As part of the application of IFRS 15, the determination of the time at which a performance obligation is satisfied and the determination of the progress made in cases involving revenue recognition over time may involve discretionary judgment.

Additional estimates and assumptions mainly relate to the uniform definition of useful lives, the assumptions made on the value of land and buildings, the recognition and measurement of provisions as well as the realization of future tax benefits.

Options and Judgments

Options exercised and judgments made by Vonovia’s management in the process of applying the entity’s accounting policies that may have a significant effect on the amounts recognized in the consolidated financial statements include the following:

  • Determining whether the acquisition of investment properties as part of a business combination constitutes the acquisition of a “business” or the acquisition of an individual asset or group of assets can involve discretionary judgments.
  • Vonovia measures investment properties at fair value. If management had opted to use the cost model as permitted under IAS 40, the carrying amounts of the investment properties as well as the corresponding income and expense items in the income statement would differ significantly.
  • The criteria for assessing in which category a financial asset is to be classified may involve discretionary judgments.
  • Within the scope of revenue recognition in accordance with IFRS 15, discretionary decisions relating to the expected revenue, the total costs of a project and the degree of completion may be necessary. These have an impact on the amount and timing of revenue.
  • When accounting for leases in accordance with IFRS 16, the assessment of the exercise or non-exercise of unilaterally granted termination or renewal options may involve discretionary judgment, particularly if there is no economic incentive for the exercise or non-exercise of options.
  • The need to include information concerning the future in the valuation of expected defaults results in discretionary decisions regarding the impact that changes in economic factors will have on the expected defaults.
  • The decision on how to define a group of cash-generating units to which goodwill is allocated may involve discretionary judgments.
  • Allocating the goodwill to the group of individual cash-generating units may also involve discretionary judgments. The parameters used in the impairment test, such as the determination of undiscounted cash flows, the weighted average cost of capital and the growth rate, may also involve discretionary judgments. Due to a lack of any detailed definition of the term “operation” (IAS 36.86), the disposal of goodwill within the context of real estate sales may involve discretionary decisions.
  • Due to a lack of any detailed definition of the term “a separate major line of business or geographical area of operations” (IFRS 5), a disposal group within the context of real estate sales may involve discretionary decisions.
  • At the moment, there are no definitive provisions on how to reflect a mandatory acquisition of non-controlling interests following the acquisition of control as part of a voluntary public takeover offer. In general, the acquisition of shares as part of a public offer during the second offer period is based on exactly the same conditions as those that applied in the first offer period, and the two acquisitions are closely related in terms of content and timing. This means that, even if it is executed in two offer periods, the acquisition constitutes one and the same transaction (linked transaction). Following the completion of the later acquisition, the original purchase price allocation is to be adjusted with retroactive effect from the acquisition date, resulting in a change in the consideration transferred, the fair value of net assets transferred and, consequently, the resulting goodwill.
Cash-generating Unit (CGU)
The cash-generating unit refers, in connection with the impairment testing of goodwill, to the smallest group of assets that generates cash inflows and outflows independently of the use of other assets or other cash-generating units (CGUs).
Fair Value
Fair value is particularly relevant with regard to valuation in accordance with IAS 40 in conjunction with IFRS 13. The fair value is the amount for which an asset could be exchanged between knowledgeable, willing parties in an arm’s length transaction.
Vacancy Rate
The vacancy rate is the number of empty units as a percentage of the total units owned by the company. The vacant units are counted at the end of each month.