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German housing cooperative limits hot water

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Housing cooperative in Dippoldiswalde in the village Saxony found himself in hot water after announcing to tenants that he would be trying to save money energy turning off their heating and hot water at a certain time of day.

The Saxon housing cooperative limits heating and hot water

Landlords in Germany are being asked for upfront payments as electricity costs rise across the country utility providers, and in some cases struggles with costs. In a last-ditch effort to save, the housing cooperative, which manages about 600 apartments in the eastern city of Diepoldiswalde took a decisive step to reduce the supply of central heating and hot water.

In a Facebook post shared on Tuesday, the housing co-op board announced that until September it will completely turn off the heating for residents and turn off the hot water supply between 4 and 8 a.m. and before 11 a.m. and 13:00 in the afternoon, and 17:00 and 21:00 in the evening. Since July 1, the change has been introduced in approximately 300 houses.

The message explained: “Gas and electricity prices continue to rise. As we already announced at the members meeting, now we have to save on in winter.” Board member Falk Kün Meisegeyer added: “It’s not about annoying the tenants, it’s about making adjustments, otherwise we won’t be able to pay next year.”

Turning off hot water is illegal in Germany

The move was roundly condemned on social media, with people calling it “crazy” and “incredibly cheeky”. Politicians and consumer associations have also weighed in on the issue, with Federal Housing Minister Clara Geiwitz saying: “Simply temporarily turning off hot water is illegal.”

The German Tenants Association added that the move could give tenants the right to downsize rent. “The apartment has no defects [only] when hot water is available 24 hours a day,” explained spokesman Florian Bau, emphasizing legal right of the tenant to hot water.

However, the president of the Central Association of the Housing and Construction Industry, Axel Gedashka, defended this move on the grounds that it is permissible for a housing cooperative. “The goal is energy and cost savings that benefit only the co-op members, not the landlords.”

However, he warned that this was not a model for other housing companies, which must first seek mutual consent from their tenants before taking steps to restrict hot water supply.

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