In January Berlin passed a law against rent increases (rent cap). Not only profit-oriented real estate companies had protested against it, but also large housing cooperatives and their associations. As a result, cooperative members joined forces and protested against these political statements by their management boards. Cooperatives should act in accordance with cooperative values and involve members in their decisions.
At an “Alternative Day of Cooperatives” on 25/26 of September 2020 they discussed how cooperatives can contribute to social housing with affordable rents. An important topic is the democratisation of cooperatives. Organising strategies were discussed so that members can jointly assert their rights, but also the need to change the law on cooperatives, in which the power of the management boards is laid down. Management boards, supervisory boards and employees need training in the cooperative idea of economic self-help.
Cooperatives should increasingly offer housing for people with low income, migration experiences and other disadvantages in the housing market. This could be financed through a solidarity fund into which all cooperatives are obliged to pay, for example, three percent of their profits. They need more support from the local government, both in terms of building sites and financial assistance for social housing.
The members’ initiative DIE GENOSSENSCHAFTER*INNEN will network more closely with the tenants’ movement to act together politically, also in view of the elections for the House of Deputies in autumn 2021. The “Alternative Day of Cooperatives” is over, the networking process of the members continues.
Elisabeth Voß, NETZ für Selbstverwaltung und Selbstorganisation e.V.