Germany’s Nürtingen District Court has ruled that Klaus Roth, a senior social worker, must vacate his home of 24 years so that six ‘asylum seekers’ can move in. Roth is now 75 years old and has had three strokes, asthma, diabetes and two intervertebral disc operations. Nevertheless, the Court has ordered him to surrender his six-room apartment by September 30th.
Ironically, during the height of Germany’s 2015 illegal migrant flood, Roth volunteered to aid and welcome ‘refugees,’ approximately 40 of whom have already been resettled in town.
Roth has lived in a six-room state-subsidized apartment of around 150 square meters, which was used to also accommodate his his three children, but now lives in the apartment with his partner. Roth fought the Neckartailfingen community legally in order to remain in his home. The state has unilaterally decided that this apartment is now too big for Roth and his partner, and that it would be better utilized by housing six migrants instead. Roth feared the move due to his failing health and the stress of moving. However, the court ruled:
“To the conviction of the court it is clear that the termination of the tenancy on the part of the defendant is a hardship …, but this does not outweigh the legitimate interests of the landlord”
Watch the following RAIR Foundation USA exclusively *translated interview with Klaus Roth:
The municipality of Neckartailfingen released a statement addressing its controversial decision to fight for Mr. Roth’s eviction:
The local council decided not to implement the accommodation of refugees in Neckartailfingen in a central accommodation but in a decentralized way in rented apartments and community-owned apartments. A total of three landlords in Neckartailfingen have rented 7 apartments for refugees. Unfortunately, we were not offered any other vacant apartments.
Since the municipality of Neckartailfingen is obliged to accommodate additional refugees in 2019 and 2020, the municipal council has decided to terminate the tenancy agreement with Mr. Roth, observing the 9-month notice period, in order to use the 150 square meter apartment for the accommodation of refugees. Alternatively, Mr. Roth was offered a community-owned 78 square meter apartment. We are currently in discussion with Mr. Roth about moving to this apartment, appropriate support when moving, etc.
Roth claims to have made substantial personal improvements with his own resources to the apartment. In addition, he foresees many issues in a potential new apartment as the new space will be too small for his belongings as it will be less than half the current space.
Roth also is uncertain how he will be able to physically accomplish the move after two intervertebral disc operations.
Mayor Gerhard Gertitschke has expressed his dissatisfaction with the solution, but is bound: “We are under pressure and have to take in more refugees. There is no way to say that we are not accommodating them.”
Possible Alternative Solutions?
In fact, there were various solutions. An original solution was to use a gymnasium or a festival hall for accommodation, but the community did not want to use public facilities. There were also calls to private landlords who could offer empty apartments. However, there were no responses.
Back in the early 1990’s, the district court in Göttingen ruled that a municipality could confiscate a tenant’s apartment to accommodate refugees if other options were exhausted. The community’s interest in accommodating refugees outweighed the interests of German citizens.
Klaus Roth and his partner are not the first people in Germany to leave a community apartment because they are supposed to accommodate asylum seekers. Since the refugee rush in late summer 2015, several cases of tenants being forced to leave the country have made headlines. At the end of September 2015, in Eschbach a tenant of 23 years was forced to give up his apartment to accommodate migrants.
This is happening not only in Germany, but also in Sweden, Italy, and other Western European countries as well. In Italy, entire hotels have been seized by the government to house migrants.
*Many thanks to Miss Piggy for the translation
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