Symposium: How to deal with problematic abandoned properties?

  Jan Polívka during his speech Copyright: © Cedric Müller / ILS

Wednesday, 2nd of October 2019

Vacancy, structural neglect or overcrowded apartment buildings - phenomena like these are not uncommon in North Rhine-Westphalian major cities and cities. Such properties are referred to as problematic properties. They were the focus of discussion at the "Symposium on Dealing with Problem Real Estate and its Consequences in North Rhine-Westphalia" last Wednesday, 2nd of October at the Chamber of Crafts in Düsseldorf.

Under the direction of the Ministry for Home Affairs, Municipalities, Construction and Equal Opportunities, MHKBG, speakers from the MHKBG, municipal administrations and the private sector presented and explained challenges and solutions for dealing with problem real estate in the form of various specialist contributions.

The high number of participants showed the undisputed relevance of the topic in the cities and municipalities of North Rhine-Westphalia. The representatives of different cities and municipalities in particular, coming from both metropolises and rural areas, were able to gain an overview of the approach to problem real estate and its owners and gather information on the legal situation and procedures through the experience gained from the speakers' contributions.

Applicable instruments from the fields of planning and building law, an overview of relevant funding instruments as well as experience with ongoing administrative procedures showed the wide range of possible courses of action. At the same time it became clear that the application of these is as different as the general conditions in the respective municipalities and their individual cases of problem real estate itself. As different as the urban and municipal structure in North Rhine-Westphalia is, with pulsating metropolitan regions, old industrial cities in the Ruhr area and regions in rural areas, so diverse are the starting points, conditions and possibilities linked to a problem property.

The symposium pointed out the challenges of dealing with problem real estate and showed that there are positive results. At the same time, it became clear that especially for smaller cities and municipalities, active action requires support due to limited administrative resources.

The guidelines for dealing with problem real estate in North Rhine-Westphalia were also presented at the symposium.