The federal government could be faced with a wave of lawsuits after the early end of funding for energy-efficient construction and renovation. Today, the Bavarian housing industry association VdW advised its 490 member companies to have claims for damages legally examined. Yesterday, the North German sister association VNW recommended the same to its members. The Federal Association of Independent Real Estate and Housing Companies (BFW) is now also examining legal action due to the funding freeze.
The building cooperatives and companies claim that they have invested millions in the planning of new homes that probably cannot be built without subsidies.
Sharp protests after funding stop
Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) had prematurely stopped grants from the KfW development bank in January shortly before the end of the application period. After sharp protests from the housing industry, the ministry announced that applications received before January 24 would still be processed.
This meant that housing companies and building owners still had a week to submit applications on time, because the so-called EH55 program was originally supposed to expire on January 31st. EH55 means the buildings use only 55 percent of the energy of a standard home.
The VdW explained that at least 535 apartments cannot be built in Bavaria. "The housing companies have planned for the long term and have already invested 9.4 million euros in these new construction projects," says association director Hans Maier. The BFW reported that most of the applications for 8,000 residential units are now on the brink.
Future funding structure unclear
The VdW also criticizes the uncertainty of two other funding programs. The KfW program EH40 for particularly energy-efficient buildings should be capped at one billion euros in the future. According to the VdW, around 3,000 apartments have been planned in this program in Bavaria so far. "It's going to be a big lottery," criticized association boss Maier. The future of the program for energy-efficient building refurbishment is also open.
The new federal government wants to fundamentally reform the funding for energy-efficient buildings. The Building Energy Act (GEG) is also to be changed. In the future, subsidies should be used in a targeted manner where the CO2 savings are greatest.