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The Apartment-House Syndicate
The Apartment-House Syndicate consists of 70 houses and 24 project initiatives in Germany and exists since 1989. It
- advises self-organized house projects and other interested persons
- participates in projects
- helps with the financing of projects
- initiates new projects
- continuously seeks direct credit for its associated self-organized projects
Together with the Syndicate, the tenants of an apartment house establish a limited liability company which then buys the building. The tenants now pay rent to the company, but are simultaneously responsible for all aspects of running the company, financing the purchase, and administering the building. In this way, affordable living space is preserved, and the building protected from exploitation by real-estate speculators.
The heart of the plan is the so-called direct credit. The company (i.e., the tenants) borrows money directly from private persons (friends, acquaintances, family, etc.), offering 0 to 3% interest. This inexpensive direct credit is used to pay back the expensive (>6%) bank loan used to finance the initial purchase of the building. The profits earned after amortization of the bank loan are used to finance new projects.
The syndicate is also active politically, i.e. against the privatization of public housing.