Uncrowded streets, closed shops, cafes, restaurants and clubs : Almost all Berlin retailers and restaurateurs are left without income . Rent, electricity, water – the costs continue to run. The next installment is due in one week. Many will not be able to pay. Berlin landlords are threatened with millions of losses. They also have costs for the managed property themselves: for loans, additional costs, repairs – and for the salaries of their employees. The corona pandemic affects tens of thousands of people, health, hundreds of thousands now of economic existence.
The real estate industry is also infected. “Every day counts to protect the industry from bankruptcies,” said the president of the Central Association for Real Estate Management (ZIA) Andreas Mattner on Monday: Ten percent of all jobs in Germany are at risk. In Berlin, with its booming housing industry, there are 11,000 jobs in the largest association alone, the BBU, and sales of six billion euros secure a further 15,600 jobs in craft and construction through orders.
State of Berlin and the federal government are now reacting. “We help the tenant at the beginning of the chain,” says Jan-Marco Luczak , the CDU MP elected from Berlin to the Bundestag. On Monday, the black and red federal cabinet passed a bundle of laws and aids to ensure exactly that: People don’t run out of money and they don’t lose their shops and apartments because of a corona pandemic and government measures to ward them off catapulted into working life.
Berlin’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK) shared in their daily Corona newsletter with the fact that short-time work allowance in the case of “loss of work” for the month of March must be reported to the employment agency by the 31st at the latest. For justification, the keyword “Corona” and the affected part of the company are sufficient.
The federal government has simplified access to short-time work benefits, housing benefits and living allowances – this is also one of the aids. Politicians want to spend billions of dollars to prevent a chain reaction that could infect the financial system at any cost.
Further therapeutic agents of choice for Berlin landlords can be found in the “Mitigation Act, passed on Monday the Consequences of the Covid 19 Pandemic in Civil, Bankruptcy, and Criminal Procedure Law ”. Accordingly, even with credit contracts, all “claims deferred by law” can initially be deferred until June 30: interest, repayment or repayments and all other obligations are deferred for the time being.
Banks should not insist on immediate loan repayments
The federal government puts credit transactions between banks and property owners in an artificial coma: Where in normal times there is a risk of termination of the loan agreement and immediate repayment of the loan, this is now without consequences. Due to the epidemic, micro-companies that pay off debts can suspend their payments until June 30 – if this does not put the creditor in need.
The aim is that consumers and micro-entrepreneurs do not “from Basic services are cut off ”, ie from electricity, gas, telecommunications and water. And it helps landlords who get no rent in a week or so because their tenant has no income: he can ask the bank to defer his real estate debt so that the debt does not accumulate with him. The federal government buys time so that the system switches to emergency mode.
This will not help some Berlin entrepreneurs because they are working on the minimum subsistence level and will probably never be able to repay the deferred debt. The Senate is only able to support a small number of small business owners, self-employed persons and employees of independent professional organizations with up to ten employees his own program , says Green Party politician Daniel Wesener. Since this Monday, you can get further cash grants from the “ emergency financial aid ” hope that the federal government decided.
This not only benefits the employees in the real estate industry, but also benefits. Especially since the “income situation of around 3.9 million private landlords” in Germany is “quite different”, according to the ZIA association. 22 percent of the landlords have an income below the median of the population. “Freelancers are overrepresented” and they currently have “special loss of income”. Although landlords could now take out loans themselves, ancillary costs such as property tax, energy costs or insurance continue to run.
Maren Kern, head of Berlin’s largest housing association BBU, also says: “Less income could therefore be lead to a liquidity bottleneck in the key housing industry. ”This in turn would have serious consequences for craft businesses, building material manufacturers and retailers and could lead to a self-reinforcing economic downward spiral.
In the real estate industry people think about short-time working
The housing association GdW also sees this danger – and warns of a “debt problem” Apartment tenants, which in turn could threaten the existence of the real estate industry. Because according to the current emergency and aid measures, the rents are only “deferred” as a result of the corona pandemic, so they have to be paid later – at the latest in 2022 according to the current regulations.
GdW Chief Axel Gedaschko therefore demands: “The initially interest-free loan must be converted into a subsidy to the tenant just like the housing allowance where the corresponding loss of income is determined.” demanded last week. For Berlin in particular, this is a good aid against the crisis, says Kern from the BBU. However, it also brings “an increase in short-time work benefits to 90 percent” into play.
In any case, industry and politics agree on this point: the rent payments for shops and apartments as well as interest and Repayments of loans should stop, but never abort, so that the financial and credit system does not is plugged in . Only the distribution of costs remains uncertain. If it remains with the rather manageable group that benefits from grants, there is a risk of over-indebtedness among tenants – or landlords.