House of many defects: pigeon droppings, mold and cracks in the walls

If Ayshe and Ilker Ö. when you turn on your hot water tap, the water comes out of the tap boiling hot. You could brew your tea with it. Her mood and that of the other tenants from the building at Usedomer Strasse 30a in Gesundbrunnen are similarly heated. They have had a water problem in their apartments for three and a half weeks. At first they could only take cold showers and now they are afraid of scalding themselves while washing their bodies. But that’s not her only grief.

Gerd Engelsmann

The apartment building at Usedomer Strasse 30a: The residents complain about various unresolved defects in their apartments.

“We feel let down by the property management,” says Ilker Ö. He has lived with his wife in the 80 square meter three-room apartment since 1997 and has always felt very comfortable there. But for a year and a half, the defects in the apartment building have been increasing. Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) has already reported that the tenants had no hot water for more than two weeks and could only take a warm bath or shower with the help of a kettle. Other problems with mould, cracks in the walls and pigeon droppings on the window sills have been plaguing the household for many months now.

Now there is a new problem: although the warm water has been flowing again for a few days, it now comes out of the tap steaming hot. “Our granddaughter has already burned her hand. She is no longer allowed to turn on the tap alone,” says Ilker Ö. The grandfather has to set the lever to cold so that the temperature is bearable.

Ilker O. and other tenants of the house have also repeatedly contacted the property management company Universa, who is responsible for them, about the problems. But so far hardly anything has happened, except that the water is no longer cold, but too hot. In addition, there are two large cracks in the wall in the living room and bedroom of the family with Turkish roots, Ilker Ö. touched them up himself, but they still show through the wallpaper. The window frames are also dilapidated from the outside. Another annoyance on the window sills: the pigeon droppings are piling up there. “The sight is disgusting and an impertinence,” says Ilker Ö. For a monthly rent of 955 euros, that is unacceptable. Residents only received an adjustment to their operating and heating costs in March and have had to pay EUR 126 more per month since May 1 than before.

Tenant Daniela Lamprecht also has a permanent construction site in her apartment after water damage last October. “The bathtub is rusted through. The tiles and tiles in the bathroom should be redone. But not much has happened so far,” she says. Ilker Ö reports the same thing. “I have reported all the defects to the property management, but they simply do not react.” Another tenant, who does not want to be named, complains about mold in her bathroom.

Gerd Engelsman

A dilapidated window frame in the Ö family’s apartment.

Gerd Engelsman

Pigeon droppings are everywhere on the window sills.

Gerd Engelsmann

Ilker O. has lived with his wife Ayshe in the rented apartment on Usedomer Straße since 1997.

Several tenants have now also asked the Berlin rental association for help. In a letter dated May 30, available to the Berliner Zeitung, a tenancy law expert asked the property management company to fix the problems with the water supply, setting a deadline, and threatened failure to comply with a lawsuit to remedy the defect. Background: According to the German Tenants’ Association (DMB), it is one of the landlord’s obligations to provide sufficient hot water with a minimum temperature of 40 to 50 degrees Celsius around the clock.

When the Berliner Zeitung asked the property management company Universa, they reported: “A circulation pump on the hot water heating system is defective. The temperature setting was set manually last week due to the defective pump. A rented pump will be delivered today and already installed. It’s now back to 60°,” said company spokesman Jens Jähnig on Friday. A replacement pump will only be delivered in about ten weeks. In the case of pump systems in particular, the delivery times have developed extremely. A tiling company and a dry construction company have been active in the house for two weeks to repair the damage in the apartments after the major water damage. Work would continue until early August 2022, the landlord’s spokesman said. Regarding the cracks in the walls, they had not received any reports. “We are also familiar with the subject of pigeons,” says Jähnig. A court case was conducted that ended with a settlement with the tenants. The disinfection of the balconies had been commissioned. The tenants are also entitled to attach nets to the balconies at their own expense. However, they would have observed feeding tenants.


A tenant’s bathtub has rusted through. The tiles in her bathroom have been missing for months.

Also family O. independently installed a pigeon net on her balcony and nailed nails to the windowsill of her bedroom to prevent the animals from perching on it. Since then they have been sitting on the lower window sills. “They coo day and night and make everything dirty. The situation is anything but satisfactory,” says Ilker Ö. He once again rounded up the tenants of the house to discuss the problems together. He imagined his summer evenings on the balcony differently, he says.

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