Public consulting agency to connect owners of neglected houses with new users
Underused buildings | Activating Mainstreaming
Source: Agentur StadtWohnen Chemnitz
Source: Agentur StadtWohnen Chemnitz
Keywords: Abandoned Spaces | Culture and Heritage | Housing | Urban Renewal


Founding of the ‘Agentur StadtWohnen Chemnitz’ (CityLiving Agency Chemnitz) with the goal to coordinate relevant stakeholders and support alternative housing projects in order to enable the sustainable development of unused historic apartment buildings in need of repair.


The ‘Housing agency’ is a consulting service (project) for interested owners of neglected and/or vacant properties, potential investors and users with an interest in common forms of living and creative ideas for the subsequent use of buildings. The task of the Housing agency is to function as a coordination body, which connects owners, potential users, investors and local authorities and provides them with free-of-charge consulting services for the reactivation of the vacant apartment buildings in the extended inner city where the free real estate market had failed.


The services are carried out by a local private urban development company, which received this task through a public tender by the city. The ‘Housing agency’ fulfils tasks that had not been foreseen within the city administration. At the same time through the private company additional know-how and work capacities are obtained.



To connect owners of neglected houses with new users a public owned housing agency (Agentur StadtWohnen Chemnitz) was found by the City of Chemnitz. It supports the match making between abandoned tenement heritage buildings with people that look for living accommodation and work space at affordable prices. It works outside the official city government structure, but is connected to the city’s formal procedures. It acts in close liaison with the city’s relevant departments: urban planning and development, funding, historic preservation, building regulations, land registry and taxes; it also works with relevant NGO, social and cultural associations and individuals.



There are basically 7 steps to facilitate a change in the ownership of abandoned buildings to people that want to invest:

  1. Identify the buildings in need.
  2. Collect basic data about the buildings.
  3. Contact the owner to know about his plans.
  4. If the owner agrees, publish the building on the agency’s website and other platforms.
  5. Organise visits of the buildings with interested people.
  6. Connect potential buyers with the owners.
  7. Accompany the buyers to liaise with municipal departments and other relevant actors.

All of those services by the housing agency are free for owners and investors. Among them also to connect to relevant stakeholders such as the building regulation department on safety issues, to talk to the preservation departments on the historic significance and burdens for future investors or to pre-check on possible grants to support the renovation.


Become the central collector and distributer of information on the buildings: monitor the abandoned buildings and publish supporting information for their revitalisation. Keep contact with the owners; help to organise the change of ownership; prevent the speculation with these buildings through contracts with the new owners; channel grant money to the buildings that need it most. Continuously communicate with the urban administration and city government and the owners, local initiatives and players in the real estate market.


City information

Population size: 101-250 th
Population development dynamics within the city administrative limits (at the time of the project): Shrinking
Population development dynamics of the functional urban area (at the time of the project): Shrinking
Website of the city:

Project information

Project territorial scale: Functional urban area
Project geographical area: City centre
Project/building proportions: 501-1000 sqm; Project Area: No data/not applicable
Project main actors: City Government; Owners; Investors, private businesses
Project dominant property ownership: Private
Project development stage (at the time of description): No data/not applicable
Project duration: More than 5 years
Project starting date: Before 2010

Project references (web pages, social media or press publications);

Contact Person

Agentur StadtWohnen Chemnitz, Martin Neubert,