Freeze for Ukraine: Mega-Landlord Demands State Allow it to Restrict Tenant Heating

The headquarters of real estate company LEG Immobilien AG in Duesseldorf, Germany, 21 September 2015. Photo: Maja Hitij/dpa | usage worldwide (Photo by Maja Hitij/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Maja Hitij/picture alliance via Getty Images

A mega-landlord in Germany has demanded that the government lower minimum temperature rules in the country so that it can restrict its tenants’ heating in this coming winter’s anticipated energy crunch.

The second largest residential landlord in Germany has demanded that the country’s government remove rules surrounding minimum temperatures in its buildings so that it can cut back on the amount of communal heating being supplied to its tenants.

The company, LEG Immobilien, has said that such a move is necessary in order to reduce gas usage in Germany, something the country’s largest real-estate group, Venovia, is also interested in doing via providing less heating to its tenants.

According to a report by business newspaper Handelsblatt, LEG Immobilien boss Lars von Lackum believes that tenants must understand that they must make sacrifices if Germany is to survive the winter, with the country now struggling due to Vladimir Putin’s government deciding to cut the nation’s supply of Russian gas.

“I believe that in the current war situation, the population in Germany must be made aware that renunciation is now the order of the day,” von Lackum reportedly told the publication.

“And that will be a renunciation of heat — you have to say that politically,” he continued, emphasising that politicians in the country must act to remove the rules “quickly”.

The CEO also reportedly said that tenants will probably need more than an extra sweater this winter to keep warm, recommending that a “warm blanket will probably be needed”.

Von Lackum’s demand mirrors that made by Germany’s largest landlord, Venovia, which announced earlier this month that it would be turning down its tenants’ heating at night so that homes would not ever get warmer than 17 degrees.

Such a step was described by the company as something it believes it should be doing as a responsible landlord, with the corporation saying that it wanted to cut gas usage and limit costs.

To make matters even worse, Germany’s ostensibly leftist economics and climate change minister, Robert Habeck, appears he might be in favour of the moves, having said last week that he was already working on legislation that would lift such minimum heating obligations for landlords.

The point of lifting the measures is ostensibly so that “tenants who want to save energy and turn down the heating” will be able to do so, with little said about what would occur if the landlord wants to turn down the fuel supply.

Even with the cuts however, von Lackum believes that about 20 per cent of tenants will simply not be able to afford the increasing cost of energy, with the housing tsar calling on the government to step in by banning evictions for residents who cannot pay their heating bills.

He also argued that the crisis would ultimately be unmanageable without state intervention of some kind.

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