Homes and Customers
Our business activities are geared toward providing people with homes – one of their basic human needs. The needs and circumstances of our customers are just as diverse as our tenants. Each of our regional residential property markets face different challenges as well. Housing is becoming increasingly scarce, particularly in metropolitan areas, while demand shows no sign of abating. These developments are unfolding against the background of high climate protection requirements, which are particularly cost-intensive in the buildings sector. This is why, particularly when it comes to modernization projects, it is key to bear in mind what individual tenants can actually afford in order not to end up losing customers. After all, one aspect that is of fundamental importance to us is being able to offer our tenants the prospect of being able to stay in their homes in the long term. One of the biggest challenges facing us in this action area is continuing to provide a wide range of housing at fair and transparent prices while also achieving our objective of a climate-neutral property portfolio.
- Numerous cooperation agreements concluded with cities and municipalities to secure homes and fair rents
- Average allocation of modernization costs stable at € 1.24/m²
- Established hardship management program rolled out further and positive decisions reached for 654 out of 874 hardship cases – approx. 75%
- Uniform standards for hardship cases in the event of modernization work developed and implemented with the German Tenants‘ Association and other residential real estate companies
- Numerous projects and measures carried out under “Housing First” initiative to combat homelessness
- Around 10,000 apartments in Germany (partially) modernized for the elderly (30% of new rentals)
- Customer satisfaction up 4.5% on the previous year and at an all-time high
- Customer app functionality expanded. Around 92,000 active users
Affordable housing remains a burning topic in public discourse. The housing situation in major metropolitan areas like Berlin is particularly fraught: the Act on Rent Controls in the Housing Sector in Berlin (“the Berlin rent freeze”), introduced by the Berlin State Government in 2019, was declared unconstitutional by the German Federal Constitutional Court in the reporting year. A majority of voters in Berlin instructed the Berlin State Government by means of a referendum in fall 2021 to examine demands for socialization of the portfolios of major residential real estate companies in Berlin. This illustrates the urgent need for affordable housing in metropolitan areas like Berlin, and just how much pressure political decision-makers are under. It also strengthens Vonovia’s commitment to providing an adequate amount of housing for all at fair prices.
Demographic change is increasing the demand for housing that meets the needs of an aging population. In Germany, the demand for senior-friendly housing will outstrip supply by around two million by 2035. In an aging society, it is crucial to enable a large number of people to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible. Maintaining and improving the quality of housing through needs-based expansion and renovation is therefore of particular importance. With this in mind, we are pushing the development of needs-based housing through maintenance, modernization, new constructions, and appropriate renovation where possible. Again and again, it becomes apparent that designing an apartment to be senior-friendly does not always have to entail the high and thus cost-intensive requirements of barrier-free design, e.g., those specified by the corresponding DIN standard. Effective solutions for older tenants can often be achieved with moderate measures that can also be implemented at low cost. We believe that we are responsible for enhancing and implementing these solutions.
Our tenants are at the center of our business activities. That is why customer satisfaction is an important measure of our success as a company. We want to be available to our clients at all times as contact persons on equal terms. The most important thing is that our tenants feel at home in their apartments and neighborhoods. Customer satisfaction is instrumental in Vonovia’s success. Here, the quality of customer care and services plays a major role. Our experience tells us that availability, speed and transparency in customer service are pivotal when it comes to living up to expectations.
We defined a number of topics as absolutely material for Vonovia within the spheres of activity of homes and customers. These were fairly-priced homes, needs-based housing, action with regard to demographic change, customer satisfaction and service quality. Other important topics are contributing to new builds in metropolitan areas, maintaining existing properties and holding discussions with tenants.