“In times of Corona, our home is the most important retreat we have. We want to offer our customers a home worth living in and a safe environment, especially in this serious crisis, while also offering our employees a secure job,” said Lars von Lackum, CEO of LEG Immobilien AG.
To this end, the company has adopted the following ten measures:
1. Safety first – Services switched to digital where possible
Our number one priority is the protection of our customers and our employees. At the same time, we want to maintain business operations and offer a decent standard of service to our customers even during this crisis. We are currently doing this mainly online and by telephone. Where physical contact cannot be completely avoided, strict protection measures apply.
2. LEG suspends rent increases on a wide scale
Until further notice, we will not increase rents to the local reference rents as provided for in section 558 of the German Civil Code (BGB), which means that from now on we will not be sending out rent change letters for the time being. In this way we want to send a signal of solidarity and social responsibility in times of the Corona pandemic and lessen the burden on our customers.
3. Tenants to stay in their homes – No termination of rental agreements, no evictions, termination notices can be withdrawn
There will be no evictions of occupied apartments. We will not go ahead with rent and eviction suits for the time being. We will conclude instalment payment agreements with tenants who are unable to pay their rent due to the Corona crisis. These arrangements for rent payment deferrals are currently planned for up to six months. In our Receivables Management team, we will have a special competence team that is familiar with the subsidy options available to distressed tenants, also against the background of current measures adopted by the federal government, and will provide targeted support to our affected customers. For all of these matters, it is important that our customers let us know in good time that they need support so that we can help them as quickly as possible. In addition, we will allow customers to withdraw their own notices of termination, for example if they are unable to move to a new address as planned. We want to help people keep a roof over their heads.
4. Keeping commercial tenants and supporting small businesses
Kiosks, cafés, hairdressers and shops enliven our neighbourhoods. But small traders in particular are currently losing income. That is why we support our commercial tenants with accommodating deferral arrangements and customised offers to help them cope.
5. Special offers for all our system-relevant helpers
We are making a special offer for a new home to all system-relevant community helpers (e.g. doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters) who are currently risking life and limb for the benefit of our society and who give their all every day: As a small thank you, we offer them a 20 percent discount on the basic rent when they rent a new LEG apartment for more than two years – until September 30, 2022. Our offer is valid with immediate effect for all rental agreements concluded over the next six months.
6. Finding housing – Strengthened commitment to the homeless
As part of the “Endlich ein Zuhause” (“Finally a Home”) initiative, we are currently offering our partners helping the homeless (including SKF Cologne, the “108 Houses for Duisburg” initiative, the housing office of the city of Düsseldorf and the Rhein-Sieg Housing Network) increased support in order to avoid placing people in shared accommodation as far as possible. This way, we have already managed to offer around 160 people a new roof over their heads in the past one-and-a-half years.
7. Staying supplied – Helping neighbours
As early as 16 March, we wrote to around 25,000 tenants asking them to help us organise neighbourhood initiatives in their apartment buildings and neighbourhoods. Neighbourhood assistance ranges from running small errands to helping working parents look after their children. In addition, our hired promoters, who normally organise tenant parties and events, help elderly LEG tenants in our senior citizens’ quarters with necessary errands.
8. Feeling at home – Distractions permitted
Children and older people suffer particularly from the need to maintain as few social contacts as possible. To provide a little distraction, we have so far set up 100 leisure boxes in larger LEG quarters, where tenants can help themselves to puzzle magazines, children’s literature or crayons.
9. New “Dein Zuhause hilft” (“Your home helps”) foundation will provide € 1 million for Corona aid measures
Our new foundation, which has already financed the educational content of the leisure boxes, will support initiatives with a total of € 1 million this year, thereby helping tenants and households particularly affected by the Corona crisis.
10. Protecting employees, supporting families – Promoting work flexibility
In several stages, we have made changes to our business operations, with the exception of specific emergency roles, to allow staff to work from home. In this way, we provide the greatest possible safety and flexibility for our employees and their families.
Concluding remarks for customers, employees and investors
In addition, we urgently call on everyone to comply with the regulations issued by the authorities and to provide them with the best possible support. This is why we have suspended our tenant consultation hours for the time being, closed our playgrounds, set up a crisis management team to deal with the Corona crisis, published a so-called Hygiene Notice Board on the LEG intranet with important tips and advice, created a daily internal company newsletter on the subject, and much more.
We would like to point out to our investors that at present LEG continues to expect to achieve FFO I in the range of € 370 to 380 million in 2020 – despite slightly lower operating rental growth.
With around 136,000 rental properties and more than 365,000 residents, LEG is one of Germany’s leading listed housing companies. The company has seven branch offices in North Rhine-Westphalia, providing personal local contact. LEG generated income of around EUR 809 million from its core rental and lease business in the 2019 financial year. As part of the new construction campaign it launched in 2018, LEG wishes to make a social contribution towards creating both free financed and subsidised housing, and to build or acquire at least 500 new apartments per year from 2023 onwards.
Source : Company