A garden patch, a balcony, Berlin
All that Gabriele needs to live a happy life
Gabriele is a tenant of Deutsche Wohnen in Berlin-Zehlendorf. She really likes her apartment, the neighbourhood and its green surroundings. The pensioner feels at home here in the west of Berlin and she and her husband plan on staying here for a long time.
Gabriele never wanted to live in a palace. Not even when she was living in East Berlin – in Prenzlauer Berg, when the Berlin Wall still divided the city – where she was quite happy with her ground floor apartment with a patch of garden that she reached by jumping down from the window ledge.
And not even after she applied for an emigration permit to exit the East, which made it possible for her to take a short trip over to Zehlendorf in West Berlin. It was here that, together with her husband, she later found a top-floor apartment with a balcony. And she has a small patch of garden to tend again too. All thanks to Deutsche Wohnen.
“When I come out of the bedroom and walk through the living room, everything is bathed in light. And I can step out straight out onto the balcony, which always really relaxes me,” explains the 75-year-old. She couldn’t think of a better place to live, between the city and nature.
“The woodworms were calling my name: ‘Hello, Gabi!”
The balcony, a bathtub, her painting room and a cosy bed: these are the things that are important to Gabriele: “At the end of the day, there’s nothing better than being able to unwind with a lovely hot bath.”
Also adding to the homely feel are her favourite pieces of furniture, such as her Biedermeier table, which has accompanied her since the GDR era:
“It wasn’t in very good condition and full of woodworms that seemed to be calling my name! ‘Hello, Gabi, here we are!’. But I still thought it was great, so I bought it and had it restored to its former glory. If only it could talk, I’m sure it would have a few stories to tell!”, she says, laughing heartily.
“If I’m doing a spot of gardening downstairs and my neighbour walks past, I like to stop and have a chinwag with her.”
Plant lover and hobby gardener
Gabriele and her husband are very attached to this apartment. They have spent the last 30 years here and still don’t mind climbing all the stairs up to the top floor. Despite their age.
“Of course the time has come for us to make a new plan now. We need to be clear about what we are still capable of and what we aren’t. Admitting that to yourself and making the necessary changes isn’t easy.” The sense of security and familiarity of your own four walls becomes increasingly important as you get older, Gabriele adds.
Deutsche Wohnen’s promise to all our tenants
Deutsche Wohnen cares about its tenants. Especially when it comes to investing in existing properties and refurbishing and modernising them. We are aware of the fears and anxiety associated with this and know that we can only be successful if we are living up to our social and economic responsibilities.
Our tenant promise is therefore clear: no Deutsche Wohnen tenant should lose their home as a result of modernisation or renovation works. Any accompanying rent increase must be socially responsible. This is not only a principle of our pledge to our tenants, in which we go above and beyond what the law demands of us. We want our tenants to feel at home with us. Over decades, just like Gabi. And always: ‘Where life lives’.
Our promise to our tenants
For Deutsche Wohnen, letting apartments means taking responsibility and tackling the major challenges in the housing sector head on. Urbanisation, climate change and demographic change affect companies and society in equal measure. With the promise we make to our tenants, we take into account their individual circumstances and income: we do not want our tenants to be afraid of losing their homes due to refurbishment measures or future rent increase demands.