Heimstaden AB strikes
Over the last few months, the Swedish Heimstaden AB has bought more than 140 houses with nearly 4,000 apartments throughout Berlin. The deal is driving the city’s sell-out further, and crowding out and shortage of housing is expected. Heimstaden and the investment company Skjerven Group, acting on its behalf, are known for vacancies, luxury renovations and conversions into property.
Scope and consequences of the deal
Heimstaden Bostad AB is one of the largest Swedish housing companies. Behind it stands the Norwegian billionaire Ivar Tollefsen, who, according to media reports, already owns 100,000 apartments in Europe. The latest deal is thus to cover 130 Berlin apartment buildings with 3902 apartments for a price of just under 830 million euros. In total, however, there are already almost 150 houses and over 4,000 apartments.
In times of rent caps, such major investments are particularly alarming and highlight the speculative interest of the investor. It is not unlikely that apartments will be expensively renovated, converted into property and sold after purchase. Experiences of tenants and reports of different media on the yield-oriented approach of Heimstaden point to this circumstance. At the same time, new expensive micro apartments and condominiums mean a shortage in the already tight rental market.
This must be prevented! Together with the affected residents we want to organize ourself and protest against this sellout of the city.
Demands of the network
The tenants demand:
the exercise of the right of first refusal of the houses to a third party oriented to the common good, so that grown neighborhood structures are preserved in the long run.
that politicians are also looking for solutions for houses that are excluded from the “Milieuschutz”.
that the first refusal is based is not based on the current speculative prices but orientate on the social value of the houses.
that the politicians, especially in the Berlin Senate for Finance and Urban Development, provide the necessary subsidies in the event of a purchase by a socially responsible company or cooperative.
in general affordable housing and the development of a social housing culture.
the introduction of rent protection also for small businesses.
the active preservation of the lively and diverse neighborhood culture throughout Berlin.
Organization throughout Berlin
To 21.10. found themselves 290 tenants and activists together for the first on-line cross-linking meeting of the Heimstaden houses! On 28.10 second meeting was held. Now it applies to make the next steps. The fact that we are so many makes us strong, but also requires good coordination. Therefore we want to organize ourselves into local groups and AGs.
Districts and local groups (Ortsgruppen)
For each district there is a distributor and a district group meeting. There we link tenants and houses to build up pressure on district representatives.
Ortsgruppe Mitte-Nordwest: Wedding, Moabit, Spandau
- meeting online (link will follow via the distribution list)
- Sign up for the email list:
- Wedding & Moabit: https://lists.bilgisaray.org/wws/subscribe/stopheimstaden_wd-moa
- Contact: Heimstaden_Mitte@mg-berlin.org
- meeting online (link will follow via the distribution list)
- Sign up for the email list: https://lists.bilgisaray.org/wws/subscribe/stopheimstaden_pankow
- Contact: heimstaden_Pankow@mg-berlin.org
- Sign up for the email list: https://lists.bilgisaray.org/wws/subscribe/stopheimstaden_nk
- Contact: heimstaden_Neukoelln@mg-berlin.org
- Meeting every saturday, 4 pm/ online
- Sign up for the email list: https://lists.bilgisaray.org/wws/subscribe/stopheimstaden_xb-fh
- Contact: Heimstaden_FH-KB@mg-berlin.org
Ortsgruppe Tempelhof/Schöneberg & Steglitz:
- Meeting every Friday, 6:30 pm / Online
- Sign up for the email list: https://lists.bilgisaray.org/wws/subscribe/stopheimstaden_th-sb
- Contact: Heimstaden_TH-SB@mg-berlin.org
Berlin-wide meetings and AG’s
There is a regular meeting to which one or more delegates from each house are invited. Here we decide on central demands and coordinate the work of the AG’s and local groups in the single districts. To register for the Berlin-wide e-mail email list click here.
There are also three working groups/AG’s:
AG Öffentlichkeitsarbeit (Public Relations)
- takes care of press requests and social media channels
- Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sign up for the e-mail list: lists.riseup.net/www/subscribe/ag_pr_he…
AG Aktionen (Actions)
- organizes rallies, demos and other actions
- Next meeting: 01.11. – 19 Uhr
- Contact: email@example.com
- Sign up for the e-mail list: lists.riseup.net/www/subscribe/ag_aktio…
AG Plan B
- makes plans for the houses that Heimstaden has bought and where no right of first refusal (Vorkaufsrecht) has been drawn
- Next meeting: 30.10. – 17 Uhr
- Sign up for the e-mail list: lists.riseup.net/www/subscribe/ag-planb_heimstaden-vernetzung
All working groups/AG’s are open for tenants of Heimstaden houses.
More questions? Have a look on our Heimstaden FAQ! Everything around the network, Vernetzung, about the right of first refusal und Heimstaden on a single page.
What can tenants do right now?
- Sign up to the email list !
- Talk to your neighbors. Put up a note in the hallway. Hold house meetings. Take care of roommates / neighbors without email or language barriers. Create a distribution list for the house. Choose speakers who represent your house in the initiative.
- Collect data about the house and the individual apartments (as preparation for the portfolio for the cooperatives): number and size of the apartments in square meters, number of rooms (without kitchen, bathroom and hallway), type of heating (e.g. stove, gas heating, central heating, etc.), bathroom equipment (shower? WC?), floor of the apartment.
- Collect opinions and possible contributions for a possible self purchase (tenement syndicate). Define a trusted person for such personal data!
- Be creative! Hang up banners, carry out actions, contact us in case of problems, questions etc.
Logos, banners and stickers
Decorate your houses and social media accounts, cover the city and take your protest out into the streets!