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BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – The largest German housing group Vonovia (Vonovia SE (ex Deutsche Annington)) wants to stick to the dividend payment despite a multi-million dollar burden from rent defaults. In contrast to the industry colleague Deutsche Wohnen (Deutsche Wohnen SE), he will stick to the distribution proposed for the past financial year, said CEO Rolf Buch of the “Welt” (Saturday edition). “Without having to withdraw a proposed dividend would damage trust. We currently have the liquidity to pay the proposed dividend. There is no reason to change the proposal, which is based on the 2019 results.”
In the wake of the Corona crisis, the manager is expecting provisional rent defaults in the tens of millions. He expected “a maximum of 40 million euros” in deferred rents, said Buch. “However, provisionally in the result, not overall, because we assume that the deferred rents will be paid at some point, as the law provides.” Between April 1 and June 30, landlords may not give notice to their tenants if they are unable to pay their rent due to income shortfalls due to the crisis. This provides for a short-term changed rule in tenancy law.
According to Buch, it is “difficult to say whether financially weak households will actually be able to catch up with rent defaults of several months after the shutdown has ended. The manager therefore reaffirmed the demand from the real estate industry and the German tenants’ association for a state “safe living fund”, which should provide financial support to tenants and, in some cases, landlords. “As a large company, we are financially well equipped, but the liquidity problem is simply shifted from the lessee to the lessor,” said the manager. “Then they can no longer pay their handyman bills, for example, and we have a knock-on effect. If even loans fail in the end, we may also get a banking problem.”
Unlike the second largest housing group, Deutsche Wohnen, Vonovia does not want to waive deferred rents in general. “We have assured our tenants that we will find a solution for everyone. And we are considering all measures,” said Buch.
The Vonovia chief assumes that the state because of the crisis New debt could raise less funds for social housing in the future. In the emerging gap, companies like Vonovia “could be more closely integrated with access to the capital market,” said Buch. “If we get the land, we could definitely play a stronger role in social housing.” / He