It takes a while to unlock the door, the key is jammed. For the first time since the fire on her balcony, Faustina Norman returns with her two children to an apartment in the Hölk skyscraper. In late January, the sofa on her balcony caught fire, probably from a cigarette casually dropped from the upper floor.
“I saw something shaking outside and I thought it was because of the wind. But then it struck me as strange. I entered the living room and saw that something was on fire. So I opened the window, but it was too much for me. So I called the neighbors and the fire department – he recalls the fire. A neighbor extinguished the flames with a fire extinguisher, and the fire brigade had to help shortly thereafter. The fire-fighting works left traces on the balcony – and in the apartment.
The landlord is obliged to bear the costs of the hotel
Its owner, a real estate company from Düsseldorf LEG, paid for a hotel room for Faustina Norman and her children for the first few days, but then changed his mind. Legal experts say that in such cases the landlord is obliged to pay for these costs.
According to the host, Faustina Norman should return to her apartment, although the windows are still broken and the traces and remains of soot and fire foam are still present. LEG says the hotel will be charged to the perpetrators of the fire. “In this context, we believe that he is also responsible for the obligation to minimize damage, keep costs within reasonable limits,” reads the statement.
Cleaning with household items?
In addition, someone was immediately on site to clean the apartment with cleaning agents, LEG continued. As part of the management of the district, Lennard Hamelberg looks after the people who live here. Only after ten days, one of the caretakers wanted to clean the apartment of the remains of the fire. According to LEG’s wishes, the family should live in a dilapidated apartment for two days, said Hamelberg, adding: “The woman has already tried to report homelessness because she said these conditions were unsustainable. Can’t live. “
Faustina Norman is sitting in her living room, lost: “We live in a hotel. And the owners do not accept it. They say I should go back to my apartment with the baby. They did not want. pay for it and the man from the hotel wanted to take our keys back from us for this reason – she said.
Why are investors buying dilapidated homes?
The case of Faustina Norman raises the question of why investors are ever buying apartment buildings such as the one in Hölk in Bad Oldesloe. The owners have been changing here regularly for 20 years. LEG did not take over the houses from Adler Real Estate until December, along with around 15,000 other residential units. Such package purchases would be industry custom, says Andreas Breitner.
The director of the Association of North German Housing Enterprises knows: “More inventory, more real estate is synonymous with higher goodwill, especially for listed companies. Like wild wutz they buy everything they can. But don’t look carefully. And then buy a packet of apples like this. You know you have good apples, but there may always be someone who has gone bad. And here it is similar.
Means: If an investor wants to buy a package that includes high-quality and desirable real estate, he has to accept that he will inevitably also buy real estate such as Hölk houses.
Housing costs sometimes 10.72 euros per square meter
“Such houses are not in demand on the market,” says the expert, “but if you already have them, you want to make money from them.” In the case of Hölk houses it works like this: Since many apartments are rented, so there are few vacancies, and the office pays the rent to many tenants in such houses, the landlord has a relatively low risk. Because the office always pays on time. A square meter in Hölk houses costs up to ten euros. “It’s basically a cycle,” explains Andreas Breitner, adding: “The houses are in poor condition so rents are flowing. If you don’t invest that much in repairing these buildings, you can make a living out of the rental income. “
Immediately after the takeover in December, 15,000 of housing units, LEG wrote in a press release: “LEG takes responsibility on the spot.” However, neither on site nor by phone, tenants can contact someone to take care of the damage if they have problems. This is how several tenants describe it. This was also the case with the previous owners.
Renovation, demolition or immediate resale?
LEG writes: “We are in a dialogue with the city about how best to handle the project – this includes refurbishment by us, refurbishment by a potential refurbishment buyer, or demolition and new construction.”
LEG writes nothing about what should happen to the occupants of the houses in the event of demolition. “This shows that the owners have no value and don’t care what tenants have to go through,” says Andreas Breitner. “They don’t care about tenants’ problems. And then you act like that. “
According to experts, the long-term solution for tenants in Hölk would be a regional investor. Someone who knows the area and is interested in buildings and the people in them.
The report sees a health risk
At the beginning of February, Lennard Hamelberg and his colleagues commissioned a valuation of Faustina Norman’s apartment: “The valuation shows that there is a threat to the health of the tenant and her children in the apartment.” But LEG refuses to accept this report and wants to commission a counter report. A game of time in which Faustina Norman waits for her apartment to become habitable again.
“I don’t know what the owners want,” says Faustina Norman, “My boy can’t breathe. Now that we’re home, if we stay here for 10 to 15 minutes more, he won’t sleep all night. I do not know what to do. I need help. I’m desperate”.
A specialist company from Bad Oldesloe proposed that the apartment would be fit for use again, professionally cleaned and part of Faustina Norman would be paid for by itself. LEG declined this offer. Instead, Faustina Norman still lives with the children in the hotel – not financed by LEG, but by donations from the residents of Bad Oldesloe.