On September 5, 2019, Lars Hansen of the Hamburger Abendblatt published an article about student housing in Harburg. The focus of the article was on the so-called "Apartment Affair" . The "HUB-Apartment GmbH" operates the building complex at Knoopstraße (formerly Deutsche Wohnungsbaugesellschaft Harburg) and rents 108 micro apartments there on a total living space of about 2,115m².
From the minutes of the meeting of the Urban Planning Committee of the Harburg District Assembly of 20.11.2017, it appears that the Lindhorst Investment Group, represented by Christian Möhrke, stated that they wanted to rent the housing to students at a price below 300,00€ .
Through investigation on the part of Lars Hansen it has come to light that the rooms, which should actually be intended for students, are rented out at a price of over 900.00€ per month. From this it can be concluded that the main target group is not students .
In the following, the General Student Committee of the Hamburg University of Technology takes a position on this.
Cudi Cesen, Social Affairs Officer of the AstA: "In theory, the city is accommodating investors in Harburg who want to create living space for students. In practice, the concept is not working out: For example, the small apartments created in Knoopstraße are rented out by the day and at horrendous prices of over 900 euros per month, so that they definitely exceed the students' ability to pay. The accommodations are rented out - profitably - mainly to tourists and business travelers. So the question arises whether students were ever intended as a target group in the first place."
On the website there is a possibility to book the rooms with a minimum term of 30 days. Three booking categories are available: Studio Apartment, Studio Plus and Suite. The word students as well as a distance to the university is not mentioned. When reviewing the offer, the question arises whether the HUB apartments are apartments at all or a hotel offer . Joseph Rüffert, 1st chair of the AStA: "The flat rate for housing in the BAföG maximum rate is 325 euros. To charge almost three times that is, without exaggerating, usury!"
As the gateway to the world, Hamburg has high rents. This situation is exacerbated by the low supply and high demand. Due to the transformation of the labor market, many people are moving from the countryside to the city. Due to the increase in population, better infrastructure is being created in urban areas, companies are settling, universities are growing and, ultimately, rents are rising in the cities. Since the city itself cannot build enough, it decided to increasingly hand over housing to private investors. Demand is rising, construction costs are increasing, and rents are rising. However, the fact that the people of this city are once again calling for greater political intervention is reflected in the number of participants in demonstrations against the rent madness. The social peace is beginning to crumble noticeably. Since 2000, rents in Germany have risen by 45% net , while real wages have hardly increased at all. For many, rent is thus becoming unaffordable .
In addition, the number of social housing units in Harburg is falling, from around 10,000 in 2009 - 2012, 6,000 units will remain in 2019. We consider this trend to be unacceptable and call for measures to counteract it.
Philipp Wittmann, President of the Student Parliament: "Usable living space is an elementary basic need that must be granted to every human being.
However, because we as students are a group who do not have the leverage in a commercial housing market to obtain it, or are forced to spend most of our available resources on housing, we are denied this basic need."
In August 2019, the BAföG housing allowance increased to 325€ at the maximum rate. According to the rent index, the average price for a student apartment is 453€ and thus 128€ above the flat rate .
Cudi Cesen: "The number of students in Hamburg is growing steadily, but at the same time the supply of affordable housing is declining." The Technical University of Hamburg wants to grow and will receive an additional 19 million euros in its budget over the next five years to do so. The university would like to grow prospectively to 10,000 students by 2025, or by just under 2,000 students .
The AStA is faced with the question of where these students should live. In the next five years, there should be a realistic chance to create about 1000 new student dormitory places. By 2030, approx. 2000 new dormitory places are to be created .
Looking at the anticipated growth figures, it is obvious that this is not enough to meet the demand. We very much welcome the student housing offensive of the Hamburg Senate and see this as a step in the right direction. More housing will increase the attractiveness of studying at the TUHH. However, more initiatives of this kind will be needed to counteract the student and social housing shortage in Hamburg.
A new trend is so-called micro-apartments, such as those on offer in Knoopstraße Students live in a small space and pay less money for it. The reality is different! Smaller housing units are being built in trendy neighborhoods. A densification of living space is taking place and rents are rising immensely.
At the TUHH, 19.7% of the students are of international origin . The Studierendenwerk Hamburg provides 180 rooms at the TUHH for international freshmen, called "Freshmen". In addition, 133 Freshmen are currently on the waiting list for these rooms. As in the previous year, demand is higher than supply.
Yousuf Al Hakim, International Affairs Department of the AStA TUHH: "The shortage of housing has a significant impact on international students in particular. Not only are they significantly distracted from studying by the long search, but it also makes it more difficult for them to find their way in and settle in, which reduces their sense of well-being, their academic performance, and last but not least, especially due to the unacceptable prices of the apartments, their quality of life, especially during short stays."
To alleviate this situation, the AStA started a couchsurfing exchange last winter semester. Joseph Rüffert: "Many WGs moved closer together and accommodated these fellow students on couches for a short time". Despite the benevolent approach, the problems of the housing shortage cannot be solved in this way, but only partially alleviated.
The housing shortage is now no longer a problem for a few. The Studierendenwerk responds to housing shortages by creating new dormitory spaces, but these will be far from sufficient to accommodate the growth of the TUHH and the general increase in demand. We welcome any investment in student and social housing. But the city must realize the magnitude of the problem and continue to step up its efforts.
We call on the district office to implement and monitor the student use  of the Knoopstraße real estate complex that has been promised by Lindhorst Investment.
That it is possible for a company like Lindenhorst Investments to use a location that is ideally suited for student housing and was originally intended for them as an apartment complex for tourists and business travelers, we consider an impossibility.
- L. Hansen, Studentenzimmer in Hamburg – für 900 Euro im Monat? [Online] Available: https://www.abendblatt.de/hamburg/harburg/article226981609/Studentenzimmer-fuer-900-Euro-im-Monat.html. Accessed on: Sep. 08 2019.
- Protokollauszug – Antrag CDU betr. Zukünftige Nutzung des Gebäudekomplexes Knoopstraße (ehemals Deutsche Wohnungsbaugesellschaft Harburg) TOP aus Sitzung des Stadtplanungsausschusses Harburg. [Online] Available: https://sitzungsdienst-harburg.hamburg.de/bi/to020.asp?TOLFDNR=1018458#allrisWP. Accessed on: Sep. 08 2019.
- HUB Apartments. [Online] Available: https://hub-apartments.de/. Accessed on: Sep. 08 2019.
- Mannheimer Morgen Großdruckerei und Verlag GmbH, Mietpreisexplosion: Gründe, Folgen, Lösungsansätze – Mannheimer Morgen. [Online] Available: https://www.morgenweb.de/mannheimer-morgen_artikel,-ratgeber-mietpreisexplosion-gruende-folgen-loesungsansaetze-_arid,1437703.html. Accessed on: Sep. 08 2019.
- S. Haas, Reallöhne in Deutschland niedriger als 2000. [Online] Available: https://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/gehaltsentwicklung-in-deutschland-realloehne-niedriger-als-im-jahr-2000-1.1598540. Accessed on: Sep. 09 2019.
- Oliver+Katrin Iost GbR, Mietkosten für Studierende in 59 Städten. [Online] Available: https://www.studis-online.de/StudInfo/Studienfinanzierung/mietkosten.php. Accessed on: Sep. 08 2019.
- Julia Offen, Technische Universität Hamburg soll wachsen. [Online] Available: https://intranet.tuhh.de/aktuell/pressemitteilung_einzeln.php?id=11391&Lang=en. Accessed on: Sep. 08 2019.
- K. Kolodzei, “PM_Stud_Wohnen_parlam_Initiative_2019_04_02,” https://www.studierendenwerk-hamburg.de/studierendenwerk/de/downloads/PM/PM_Stud_Wohnen_parlam_Initiative_2019_04_02.pdf?m=1554207021.
- Rüdiger Bendlin, TUHH – Universität – Informationen – Kennzahlen. [Online] Available: https://www.tuhh.de/tuhh/uni/informationen/kennzahlen.html. Accessed on: Sep. 09 2019.