‘Kotti&Co’ Protest Camp Demands, Kottbusser Tor, Berlin

This is a protest camp of a tenant group loacated at kottbusser tor / south.

As you might haved heard – rising rent and gentrification is a big problem in berlin.

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What are we doing here?

Declaration of „Kotti&Co” concerning our protest at Kottbusser Tor

–       We protest here against high rising housing rents at Kottbusser Tor!

–       We protest here against the yearly increasing rents in social housing.

–       We protest because we object that there is no cap on rent amounts.

–       We protest against the expulsion of people who have been living here for decades.

–       We protest against the inaction of the property managers (& house owner) Hermes and GSW, in addition to their unwillingness to negotiate.

–       We protest against the inaction of Berlin’s senate concerning a rent and social housing policy. The so called “Wohnraumgesetz” (housing space law) in its current form is not solving the issues of the tenants!

–       We protest against Berlin’s unjust system of social housing policy. For decades, million euros of public money have been distributed to house owners. This was decided although a) houses had been paid off already b) politics did not at the same time secure its influence on developments in housing rents.

Time is running out. We want immediate action. Encouragement and understanding are neither sufficient nor do they help us to pay our rents. The prolonged inaction of the property managers and the policy makers is unacceptable.

We are not the only ones who claim a right to live in the city. The changes which are caused by a misleading location policy affect our present and future lives as well as those of many other citizens of Berlin. Thus we invite all those who are convinced that the right to live in a city should not be determined by the marketplace to join our protest.

We demand from the governing parties SPD and CDU:

–       Reintroduce a cap on rent amounts of 4 Euro (basic rent) for subsidized housing!

–       Lessen of rents and additional charges, we want clearly defined laws and don’t accept fictitious costs!

–       Face the complex issue of Berlin’s social housing policy. It is not acceptable to address only state owned houses and houses under construction. The issue is concerning the current tenants in social housing, which were built by private owners on behalf of the state Berlin!

–       Communalize social housing! Private house owners have benefited long enough from subsidies. This policy has to be revised.

–       Organize (with the opposition parties) a working panel on social housing. Together with experts on municipal and rent politics, citizens’ initiatives and experts from science, law and economy, develop a sustainable and tenant-friendly solution.

We demand from the property managements:

–       Comply with their obligations of providing affordable housing space. It is you who have profited from the state’s subsidies!

–       Apologize for repeatedly not replying to our invitations (as well as those of the municipality and the senate) to address the issues!

–       Follow the municipality’s resolution from March 28th 2012 and enter in a dialogue with the residing tenants.

–       Comply with the landlord’s responsibility to maintain buildings and flats.

–       Negotiate a working plan with us and the policy makers (municipality and state) on rent and costs reducement.

–       Independently conduct a debt restructuring and thus lower ficticious costs!

We demand from the opposition parties “Die Grünen”, “Die Linke” and “Piraten”:

–       Support our demands in all of the committees.

–       Help us in assessing, inquiring and information searching.

–       Most notably, develop feasible plans which address the issues of Berlin social housing.

We demand from the media and press:

–       A sensitive coverage. We do not want anyone to treat us disrespectfully and portray us as the “Turks in Kreuzberg”. We are not a cliché – we are diverse. First of all we are tenants affected by expulsion. It should be our choice to speak about our Turkish, Tunisian, Circassian, German and Afghan roots. If so, then we also address racism in Germany. Furthermore requests for individual interviews are carefully checked.  It depends on the sensitivity of the questions, if an interview can be taken in a flat.

–       A responsible and continuous coverage apart from daily politics.

–       Participate in the discussion on a social Berlin for everyone, especially including the issues of Berlin’s tenants.

We demand from the Jobcenter personnel:

–       No requests for lowering of costs of housing until there are solutions for our problems at hand!

–       To treat us respectfully and civilly!

–       Carefully check the landlord’s operating costs.

We demand from new neighbors, higher-income earners and tourists:

–       Support our camp, help us as night watch; bring chairs, colors, chalkstone, ideas and cake! Protest with us!

We invite artists and people engaged in the cultural sector:

–       Support us with campaigns, workshops, readings, concerts…

–       Discuss with us how cultural and housing policy which is not dominated by the marketplace should look like – that Berlin stays attractive for everyone.

We invite other citizen’s initiatives, “Kiez”-initiatives, tenants:

–       Visit us and help us to promote and strengthen our camp. Think about further collective campaigns. Spread the word about our camp. Participate in our camp.

What can you do to help us?

–       Come and visit us and share some time with us at the protest camp.

–       Bring friends, family and colleagues with you.

–       Visit our daily assemblies at 6pm.

–       Donate cake to be put up for sale (for our donation’s cash box).

–       Distribute our stickers, postcards and leaflets.

–       Write commentaries in newspapers and on websites.

–       Read updates on our blog:

http://kottiundco.wordpress.com/ or on Facebook: Kotti Undco