In the FR interview, Haus & Grund managing director Ehrhardt talks about the fear of sharply increasing additional costs, the consequences for the relationship between landlords and tenants and on-call assistance.
Sir. Ehrhardt, how badly is the energy crisis already affecting the relationship between tenants and landlords?
At the moment I don’t think it’s particularly burdensome. Of course, both tenants and landlords know what to expect due to the high energy prices and the corresponding rising costs. However, we have not yet observed that this increasingly leads to conflict.
In Frankfurt, an owner turned off the hot water in an apartment building due to extremely high gas prices to protect himself and the tenants from extreme costs…
This is an isolated case. This approach must of course be condemned. Especially in the energy crisis, it is important that everyone pulls together. Tenants and landlords must try together to get through the crisis. Such excesses are clearly counterproductive.
Are many landlords afraid of being stuck with the increased gas costs?
This concern is one of the most common we come across. For example, we have a master craftsman who rents out an apartment building as a pension. He has already received notice from the energy supplier that he must pay more in advance. So he pays in advance, even though he knows very well that one or the other household in the house will find it difficult to get the money back.
What is your advice in this situation?
Younes Frank Ehrhardt (42) is the managing director of Haus & Grund Hessen. The association is the umbrella organization for 81 house, apartment and land owner associations in Hesse.
We recommend talking to the tenants and proposing an adjustment of the advance payments. After all, it doesn’t help anyone if a huge amount has to be paid after the utility bills have been settled. Fortunately, most tenants agree on that.
DMB The Tenant Protection Association in Frankfurt proposes that the public provide financial support, e.g. via a fund, to tenant households that cannot bear the additional requirements for heating costs. What do you think about it?
We think a lot about that. There are quite a few people, especially in the Rhine-Main metropolitan area, who are already barely making ends meet. Politicians must provide financial support to these people during the crisis.
Does it make sense to severely limit the temperatures in the apartments during this heating period, as Frankfurt’s housing company ABG wants? So around 20 degrees during the day and 18 degrees at night?
We are getting questions like this from many owners right now. In principle, just one degree less can have a significant impact on gas consumption. I would like a little more flexibility on this topic. It is not yet entirely clear what threatens us. But if there are massive bottlenecks in the gas supply, one should at least consider whether lower temperatures than previously required by law could be possible in the apartments.
What kind of support are you hoping for in this crisis?
One thing is clear: it will not work without the state. He will have to help people with low incomes. But I am actually in good spirits that we will manage to get through this difficult time. Even during the Corona crisis, things looked bleaker when it came. Back then it was said that many people would lose their jobs and then no longer be able to pay the rent. But this did not happen because the social arrangements came into force, but also because many landlords tried to talk to the tenants and work out pragmatic solutions.
Interview: Christoph Manus