Germany has begun serving eviction notices to poor and elderly citizens as the government makes room to house foreign refugees.
In the German city of Lörrach, forty people living in the same apartment building have been given eviction notices.
As of January 31, over 1 million Ukrainian refugees have been accepted by the German government, according to data provided by Statista.
In 2022, Lörrach accepted 638 refugees, the city explained in a Monday news release.
The city will be accepting 356 more in 2023.
The district’s largest real estate and service company is Wohnbau Lörrach.
The company has properties that consist of about 4,070 apartments and 100 commercial units in the city, according to its website.
Lörrach announced an agreement with the residential complex to rent out the buildings to house the flood of refugees that will be arriving in the city.
However, in order to make room for the incoming refugees, 40 current tenants at the residential buildings on Wölblinstrasse have had their rental agreements terminated.
“The accommodation of people who have fled is currently a major challenge for the municipalities,” the city wrote in a letter to tenants, according to German news outlet Focus Online.
“The city of Lörrach is currently dependent on living space that is available at short notice.”
“However, we will offer you alternative, suitable housing and support you in moving, also financially,” reads the letter, which has been translated from German to English.
Das hier ist kein Fake.
Bewohner in Lörrach sollen Wohnungen für (ukrainische) Flüchtlinge räumen.
Was ist bloß aus diesem Land geworden. Was sind das für Lösungen. pic.twitter.com/MjVKJzko07
— Manaf Hassan (@manaf12hassan) February 20, 2023
The mayor of Lörrach, Jörg Lutz, and the managing director of the Wohnbau Lörrach residential complex, Thomas Nostadt, discussed the decision at a recent press conference.
Lutz said that the need to house refugees justifies the termination.
However, many of the current tenants have expressed their shock and outrage at the move.
According to Focus, the “heated mood,” as described by Lutz, has reportedly drawn threats and hate letters.
In response to this, the city and residential building will not be holding a tenant meeting at this time, Lutz and Nostadt announced.
Instead, the city will aid current tenants after their eviction by offering them an “alternative, suitable living space,” as well as financial support to help them move out.
If tenants refuse to leave, they will be charged a significantly higher rent to force them out, Focus reported.
The German Tenants’ Association has responded to the termination of current rental agreements held by tenants, describing the move as illegitimate.
“According to tenancy law, the accommodation of refugees is not a reason for termination,” said Rolf Gaßmann, the state chairman of the association, according to Focus.
He also bashed the letter from the city, saying that it would only “[fuel] anti-refugee sentiment.”
Residents facing eviction have also spoken out about the termination.
“I’m shocked,” senior citizen Carmen Knoll said, according to Focus.
“I’ve lived here for 30 years, only get 600 euros in basic security and pension, and pay around 375 euros cold.
“I can’t afford higher rent.”
Fellow tenant Samuel Multner added that he had a three-year rental agreement but will now be forced to leave after only five months.
“It’s a mess how we’re being treated here,” he said.