Next attempt against Rigaer 94 (current)

In a major operation in the summer of 2021, this was not the first time that the police encountered resistance.

Photo: dpa / Carsten Koall

In the coming months, several negotiations are pending in court in the dispute over the rent-and-ownership structure at Rigaer Straße 94. The first trial in Kreuzberg County Court begins on Thursday – the plaintiff demands the eviction of an apartment in the disputed house. This is followed by negotiations on ten more eviction proceedings against the tenants of the home project, attorney Benjamin Hirsch says of the “second.” He is the advocate for the tenants involved in three of these proceedings. On December 17, further eviction lawsuits will be negotiated, and the remaining dates have yet to be set, he said.

“We continue to assume that the power of attorney for the owner is illegitimate,” Hirsch said. For years, Berlin courts have been grappling with whether solicitor Markus Bernau was adequately authorized by Britain’s Lafone Investments Limited, which owns the house. The lawyer who specializes in rent law said: “So far not a single court has recognized that the attorney’s power of attorney legislates the ruling.” In the past, only one decision in an urgent procedure recognized a power of attorney, solely on the grounds that such an urgent procedure did not require more extensive evidence to legitimize it. So far we don’t even know to what extent the homeowner is there. Hirsch says she has not yet appeared in court. In addition, it was not clear whether Lafone Investments Limited would have legal capacity in Germany after the UK leaves the EU.

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The Kreuzberg District Court has already indicated in the documents in the current proceedings that there are doubts about the power of attorney. Another advocate in the process is Henrik Solf, who works with Benjamin Hersch and other lawyers to support the residents of Rigaer 94. In the specific case, the tenants were terminated by the other party because the rent had been paid by the residents to the wrong account. “The tenants were not properly informed of the change of ownership and were therefore transferred to the old owner,” Solf tells The Second.

On the day of the trial this Thursday, Solf is not expected to pronounce the verdict. “This will not be the last negotiation in the process,” he says. There are still some questions to be answered by the opposing party, which, if necessary, must be answered when the evidence is taken. “If the court is brave, it will dismiss the lawsuit outright,” says his colleague Benjamin Hirsch. However, it is more likely that the judge will explain in detail why the power of attorney is not considered legitimate, and that a sentencing date will follow. “In any case, the court will reveal how things are going with regard to the matter of power of attorney,” Hirsch said.

From this perspective, the first of several evictions could pave the way for upcoming actions against residents of the home project. “It could be a preliminary decision on legalizing the power of attorney that other departments take over,” Attorney Hirsch said. However, there are different judges who are responsible for the other 10 proceedings, and they can also decide differently than in court today.

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In February, there are further negotiations for “Kadterschmiede”, a pub and venue in Rigaer 94. Their evictions have been repeatedly prevented in court in the past due to insufficient power of attorney. Resolution in current proceedings could also be critical to this process, says Hirsch, who represents “Kadtterschmid” in the proceedings.

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