Berlin pensioners take on Swedish property giant
Published: 13 Aug 2014 13:50 GMT+02:00
Some came with canes, some with walkers, but they all came ready for a fight, reported The Local Germany from the scene.
Elderly residents living near the Spree river were gathering at a tenant meeting to figure out their next move against the Swedish juggernaut Akelius, which plans to renovate the building and surrounding property, while increasing rent by 40 to 65 percent.
The clash has gained public attention through an online campaign after Akelius announced the rent increases last April. It also proposed major construction, renovation and retrofits to the building and backyard.
After a media storm in Germany, Akelius offered to reduce the rents, but the pensioners were unimpressed.
"On the face of it they gave us a spoonful of sugar, but if we turn around, they kick us," one of the pensioners told The Local. "It's not an honest offer."
"Most of us are over 80. If you give us 5 or 10 more years, we can live our last years in peace."
The pensioners have now gathered over 50,000 signatures in a petition to fight for their rights, hoping power in numbers will help in negotiating with the Swedish company.