Homes and Customers
Overview of the Action Area
Our business activities are geared toward providing people with homes as a basic human need. Accordingly, our tenants are at the center of our business activities. We adapt our homes to people’s needs and life circumstances. Thus, different housing requirements and the impact of demographic change are reflected in what we offer. We want to be available to our clients at all times as contact persons on equal terms.
In recent years, affordable housing is a topic that has dominated public discourse, especially in metropolitan areas. The coronavirus pandemic has made the topic even more relevant. Vonovia has become part of the solution to this social challenge by building new homes, offering housing for all and aligning its portfolio to meet demand.
Our goal is to rent out apartments at transparent and fair prices. The homes on offer should be affordable and remain so in the long term, especially in light of increasing climate protection requirements. This is why we are implementing a moderate rent policy throughout the Group. This is also supported by legal frameworks such as qualified local rent indices. We voluntarily limit our modernization allocation to a maximum of € 2/m2. In 2020, we were still significantly below this with an average allocation of € 1.24. We support our socially commendable approach with special protection for people over 70 years of age, our over-70 scheme, as well as comprehensive hardship management. Together with cities and municipalities, we also initiate partnerships to provide homes for everyone, including those who find it more difficult to find a place to live.
- Voluntary commitment to limiting modernization allocation and to protecting older people (guarantee for those over 70) continued; average allocation of modernization costs stands at € 1.24/m2; 164 positive decisions reached out of 346 requests from people over 70
- Established hardship management implemented and special protection for tenants ensured during the coronavirus pandemic; 724 positive decisions reached out of 1,017 hardship objection cases
- Numerous cooperation agreements and commitments with cities and municipalities implemented with the goal of reducing homelessness, among other things
- Around 10,300 apartments in Germany (partially) modernized for the elderly (30.1% of new rentals)
- Customer satisfaction index 8.6% higher than in the previous year (in Germany)
- Customer app functionality expanded; around 48,000 users per day
To make this possible, even under the increasing demands of sustainable new builds and redevelopments, we are focusing on developing entire neighborhoods. The focus on coherent housing portfolios enables us to take a holistic view of our customers’ needs.
Just as our society is changing demographically, so are the things we demand from our home. For example, the desire to live independently in old age and to remain in one’s own home in the long term is increasing. This is also increasing the need for accessible homes. In light of this, we have set ourselves the goal of (partially) modernizing around 30% of newly rented apartments to accessible homes. We complement this measure with supportive housing-related services, e.g., in the form of care services and the development of alternative forms of housing such as senior citizen living communities.
The satisfaction of our customers with our products and our company determines the economic success of Vonovia in the long term. That is why we always focus on our customers and continuously strive to improve our service. Even during the pandemic, we were able to maintain our high service quality at our customer centers in Dresden and Duisburg. This is also possible thanks to our high level of digitalization, which makes it easy for our employees to work remotely. We regularly and systematically survey our customers’ satisfaction. In Germany we measure it using the Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI), which is also included in the new non-financial performance indicator Sustainability Performance Index (SPI).
As part of our 2020 Materiality Analysis, we defined a number of topics as absolutely material for Vonovia within the action area of homes and customers. These were Living at Fair Prices, Needs-Based Housing (demographic change), Customer Satisfaction and Service Quality. Other important topics are Contributing to New Constructions in Metropolitan Areas, Maintaining Existing Properties and Holding Discussions With Tenants.