The house I live in is to be sold. What should be done?
In our town tenements change their ownership at speculative prices and then get luxury renovated or torn down more and more frequently. Yet even without a sale, total renovations with simultaneous mass terminations are increasingly imminent. Formerly inexpensive tenements are being transformed into condominiums or rents are raised as much as possible after alteration. Living space is thus converted into a pure object of profit. Only a few of those affected manage to resist this trend.
Preparing for collective house purchase
- Contacting the owners
In order to be able at all to purchase a house in the current market environment without having to raise fees to priceless levels, contact to potential sellers is crucial. Thereby Sympathy can be built up. Communicate with them and discuss topics concerning the house together. When the time seems right, tell the owners about your wish to be able to remain in the house for as long as possible and mention the possibillity of a collective cooperative purchase of the house by existing tenants.
If this is not possible, consider ways of putting the owner under pressure (see box)
- Act early
As soon as the owner hands over the sale to a broker it is often too late: the house is being offered at the market at a speculative price which is much too high, and takeover by the cooperative gets difficult.
this is not the only way of procedure in case of impending loss of living space. Many home communities were cabable of receiving good payable living space only after struggling for years. In Basel right now several projects are involved in such struggles, e.g. Steinengraben (www.steinengraben.ch).
Talk to the other tenants about your ideas and needs. What is their stance towards a possible house purchase and a self-governing cooperative solution? Which neighbors might be your potential allies? If all act together, chances of success are much higher.
Unfortunately no houses are given away for free. It‘s worth to think about this in time: how much money could we raise as a home community? Are there relatives or acquaintances who could help out with a loan?
- Get help
Is it getting complicated? You no longer understand the financial details? You can‘t concretely imagine all of this? There are bureaucratic details beyond your horizon at the moment? We are happy to help.
We will explain to you the first basic facts about cooperative self-help and initiate first steps towards a collective house purchase if possible.
We‘ll find out if there can be a common future. In principle we are open for new houses that want to cooperatively organise together with the Mietshäuser Syndikat.
Unfortunately at the moment consultations are possible only in German, French, Italian or English. Please organise an interpreter if you wish for consultation in any other language.