Against the sellout of the city!

For the preservation of Hermannstraße 48!

From contract cancellation to action for eviction.

We urgently need your help to conduct court proceedings.

Who? What? How?

What HAS happened?

Stilisiertes Haus

Our House was sold!

A Review

Back in 2018, the tenants of Hermannstraße 48 founded the Hausverein Hermannshöfe e.V., to make the then owner an offer to buy the building. But Mrs. Schlosshauer indignantly refused. She felt it was a plot to have founded an association behind her back. And she insisted she would never sell her houses. As if. At the end of December 2020, she sold the property to Hermannshof48 Grundbesitz mbH, a limited liability company bought off the shelf at short notice, which, due to family connections, can be attributed to the network around Sahrs Immobilien from Glauchau (Saxony). The district of Neukölln informed us that it was examining the right of first refusal. In the following two months, which the short pre-purchase period offered us, we worked hard to get the chance to permanently remove our houses from the real estate market.

We mobilised and networked the housing community in order to win them over to a common struggle and held countless plenums where we discussed and made decisions together. We set up working groups based on division of labour, in which we outsourced tasks, pursued them under intense time pressure. We went in search of non-profit buyers and, together with our friends from the Mietshäusersyndikat, developed a plan to buy our houses ourselves as a community and transfer them into self-administration. To this end, we founded the Hermanes48 GmbH, which can enter into the purchase contract as a third-party buyer. and is controlled democratically by our house association. We have been working on and were able to negotiate a bank loan commitment that would have enabled us to pay long-term to guarantee socially acceptable rents so that we could all stay.

Within a few weeks you had assured us of financial support worth millions, to raise the equity for the loan through direct lending. Wow. We were left speechless! We were able to put on rallies and generate vocal press and PR coverage that mobilised a tremendous amount of support, in order to motivate politicians to exercise the right of first refusal and to address our concerns around the general plight of Berlin’s worrying rental and urban development.

Our struggle should be seen in the context of the Berlin rent movement, to which we feel a sense of belonging and commitment. We were able to convince the district that we were certainly capable of buying and that we were an organised housing community that could achieve the preservation goals of Milieuschutz (neighbourhood protection) in the long term. In this way we have followed the model of the model of the Mietshäusersyndikat and our conviction that even large houses should belong to those who live in them. At the end of February, the district issued a notice of pre-purchase in favour of our GmbH. We celebrated!

In March, the first buyer filed an appeal against the pre-purchase notice. To our astonishment the owner also signalled through an objection that she would not like it if the houses belonged to her residents. She would have received the same purchase price from us. From both sides lawsuits were filed against the district’s pre-purchase decision. We were prepared for a long process which would delay our ownership.

We remained active. We worked on foundations that would ensure that our community’s willingness to buy would be secured for years to come. We made preparations so that if the plaintiffs suddenly withdrew, we could quickly enter into the purchase contract and start with the necessary reconstruction work. We remained loud and political. We did our part to keep the rental policy disaster in the public eye and to report on our pre-purchase case. We continued to network with rental policy initiatives in the city, advised and supported some houses with the Mietshäusersyndikat whose pre-purchases were under review. The social media campaign Wohnfabrik, together other houses, was meant to draw attention to the fact that, apart from us, there are many other tenants in this city in former factory premises, who are brazenly deprived of their right to live there through tenuous commercial contracts. This illegal situation makes it much more difficult to apply the already modest protective measures offered by the law on residential tenancies and neighbourhood protection.

On 9.11.2021, the Federal Administrative Court ruled that pre-purchase in neighbourhood protection areas is not possible if, at the time of sale, a property is built on in accordance with the construction plan and conservation measures at the time of the sale. Speculations about future changes of use and the consequences of displacement cannot serve to justify a pre-purchase. Today, the ruling makes pre-purchases in neighbourhood protection areas practically impossible. Finalised aversion agreements risk not being adhered to, and the districts have withdrawn their pending pre-purchase notices, which after the ruling no longer had a chance of standing up in court. Although the particular case of H48 had been under consideration for a longer time, we knew that this would almost certainly crush our dream of self-managed housing, and our houses would go to the original buyers. Despite this prospect, H48 initiated the alliance New Right of First Refusal Now! which within a very short time was able to mobilise the lion’s share of rental politics initiatives, organise houses in Berlin and find some support in the political arena. In order to raise public awareness of the fatal consequences of the ruling and to put political pressure on the government for a speedy amendment of the Building Code, H48 continued its press work. We knew that this change in the law would no longer save us as a pending case and that our demand for an interim solution would remain wishful thinking. Indeed, the district withdrew its pre-purchase decision for Hermannstraße 48 in the spring of 2022, to our great sadness.

No, we did not give up. This catastrophe for us and for neighbourhood protection in the entire city did not stop us from continuing. How could it? Giving up is not an option! This has long since ceased to be our business alone, and we have made every effort to ensure that it is not. We have been able to establish ourselves as a player in the field of rental politics over the past two and a half years. We have been able to build a network of supporters and political comrades-in-arms in a ring of solidarity around us, improve and pass on the skills and knowledge needed for the struggle, and draw public attention to our case, so that we are able to influence the discourse around Berlin’s urban plight. We see it as our responsibility towards an impressive rental politics movement that is unparalleled outside of Berlin.

We continued to be available to the press to draw attention the successive erosion of neighbourhood protection legislation. We continued to give speeches at demonstrations to counteract the rental disaster, and supported houses to organise themselves. We accompanied the first steps of the displacement process in our area with press coverage and a demonstration to feed the discourse on rental policy from the grassroots up. Because what we kick up a fuss about has happened silently a thousand times elsewhere.  

When the owners approached us through their lawyer last autumn and signalled a willingness to sell, we were also ready. Within a very short time we provided a non-profit buyer in the form of the city and the state. We would have been happy to get the owners out from the mess of having tied themselves to one of the city’s biggest problems in a time of crisis. But they were unwise. They responded as little to requests for negotiations from the city and the state as they did to our countless attempts to contact them.

Moreover, we have prepared ourselves for contract cancellations in the factory building. We are ready to take the long legal path. We invite you to come with us on this path, so that this drama will not end as a tragedy, but a celebration of urban politics!

Who are we and what are we fighting for?

Haus mit einem Herz in der Mitte

Our house community

More than 140 people live and work at Hermannstraße 48 – some of them have been doing so for decades. H48 houses families, individuals and large shared flats. There are also various businesses such as a wood workshop, a hairdressing salon, locksmiths/shoemakers and therapy centers.

Our tenant community is a cross-section of Neukölln neighborhoods: pensioners, children, students, wage labourers, unemployed and self-employed persons, artists and craftspeople. Flint (Women*, Lesbian*, Inter*, Non-binary* and Trans*) and BIPoC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) persons live here, as well as disabled persons and people who simply cannot afford a rent increase. For all of us, Hermannstraße 48 is our home and shelter.

We enjoy living and working here and want to continue to do so. Other affordable residential or commercial space will probably no longer be available to any of us.

The factory building

The inhabitants of the factory building in the 2nd courtyard find themselves in a particularly precarious situation. The large shared flats, which have in some cases been here for 40 years, only have commercial rental contracts. These offer no cancellation protection.

It doesn’t take much imagination to predict what investors want to do here: kick out the large shared flats and replace them with luxury lofts or start-ups.

One shared flat has already had its rental contract cancelled, and its renters were forcibly evicted when they didn’t want to hand over the keys. It is important for us to preserve these spaces, which enable alternative living possibilities beyond the nuclear family and one-person apartments.

The project room

In addition to apartments and businesses, H48 is also home to the project room, financed on a solidarity basis. It is managed by various initiatives and groups and is used for lectures, film screenings, discussions and many other events. The space is also used by the house community for regular meetups and table football sessions (not during the pandemic, of course). 

The project room is an important political networking space in and for the neighbourhood. Such spaces have, it goes without saying, consistently been threatened in the past and many have faced eviction.

Nach oben gereckte Faust

H48 Stories

Impressions

News

Dates

Kalender

24.-25.6.2023

H48 @ 48 Stunden Neukölln

25.5.2023 | 6pm

No displacement at this address!

Rally in front of our house

Updates

Sprechblase
vorkaufsrecht-jetzt

New right of first refusal now!

The decision of the Federal Administrative Court of November 9th, 2021 renders the municipal right of first refusal useless as an instrument against displacement. This is unacceptable! In Berlin alone, tenants in over 9.000 flats are acutely threatened. That is why we have joined forces with other initiatives and housing associations in the initiative "New right of first refusal now!" More on this under 'Press'.

Arslans Grab mit vielen Blumen und einem Foto von ihm

We mourn the death of Arslan Demir

Our longtime neighbour Arslan Demir passed away on May 26, 2021. We are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of this warm-hearted and genuine person. Hermannstraße 48 was home to his carpentry business as well as his apartment. Arslan Demir was a very sociable and enriching part of our neighbourhood and community. May he rest in peace.

Das Bild zeigt das oberste Stockwerk des Hermannshofs. Darüber steht "Wohnen mit Gewerbemietverträgen?! Kündigungsschutz auch für (ehemalige) Fabriketagen"

New press release

The housing situation of the people in the factory building at H48 (and elsewhere!) is particularly precarious. Scroll down to our "press release" section to find out more. *The picture says: "Living with a commercial lease? Protection against dismissal also for (former) factory floors!"

Wir zittern weiter um die H48

The uncertainty continues…

Both the new buyer and the previous owner have filed an objection against the right of first refusal (Vorkaufsrecht). This is now being examined by the district – and the uncertainty continues… *The picture says: "The struggle continues, our fight continues: Buyer and previous owner file an objection against preemption."

Wir sind Drittkäufer*in der H48

We are the third-party buyer!

Good news: the district is exercising the right of first refusal (Vorkaufsrecht) in our favour! We ourselves are therefore the third-party buyers. Unfortunately, things are still not yet 100% certain. More soon! *The picture says: "We are the official third party buyer."

Press and Contact

Briefumschlag

Contact

Email for press requests
presse@h48bleibt.org

Email for other requests:
h48@h48bleibt.org

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