We are standing here in Lobeckstraße today in order to protest against the power of the big profit-seeking real estate companies.
In house number 64, it is Deutsche Wohnen that makes life difficult for us tenants.
In house number 65 to 75, so right next door, it is Akelius that makes life difficult for us tenants.
This building complex consists of three houses standing one behind the other, with fantastic large open spaces in between. A space which would actually be ideal for building relationships between neighbors and enabling communal living.
However, this became impossible! Akelius bought the complex around 2014. Last year they started construction work. All the facades were covered with tarps, the courtyards are filled with construction material and rubble, the doors were left open, the staircases got filthy.
For the tenants inside these houses this means stress and noise every day. For some it even meant forced eviction. One year ago, Akelius forcibly evicted two people without any rent debts. Pedestrians coincidentally walking by this house reported this violent incident to us.
Just a few weeks later, Akelius invited the public to visit their new headquarter at Erkelenzdamm as part of the Architecture Days 2018.
The building is a large industrial yard and listed as a historical monument. Besides rental apartments, 40 artists and studio communities and several small businesses were located in this building. Akelius kicked almost all of them out in order to create their own residence in the heart of Kreuzberg.
A small aftertaste: Only one of the former ten rental apartments still exists. Akelius uses the rest of the space in a different way, mostly commercial, for instance for their tenants office. In offical German, this is called „Zweckentfremdung“: misappropriation.
Back when we were visiting this new headquarter last year and participated in a guided tour, we saw an oversized design drawing on one of the office’s walls. The draft showed street art motifs for the future facade design of precisely these houses here in Lobeckstraße 65 to 75, just next door to where we are standing now.
However, it is not the long-established tenants of this neighbourhood who are meant to enjoy the benefits of this piece of art. A year ago, the letterboxes showed a high vacancy rate.
The new rents that Akelius demands in these houses are astronomical:
1400 euros for 70 m² in number 67.
1500 Euros for 65 m² in number 71.
1090 euros for 35 m² in number 73.
1012 Euro for 58 m² in number 74.
This results in an average of 23.67 euros warm per square metre. The usual price Akelius charges in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg.
But we cannot and do not want to afford these rents! Our answer is
therefore short and simple: Expropriate Akelius & Co.!