Guardian Houses (Wächterhäuser) - Acquisition of new tenants for vacant buildings
Underused buildings | Activating
Source: HausHalten e.V.
Source: HausHalten e.V.
Keywords: Abandoned Spaces | Culture and Heritage | Housing | Participation


Through a registered private association new tenants are acquired for vacant buildings on a non-commercial basis, bringing owners and tenants together for the reuse of the building.



Haushalten e.V. is a registered private association working for the preservation and rehabilitation of endangered heritage buildings in Leipzig. There motto is “A lot of space for little money”. The model of the Guardian houses consists of two main parts:

  1. HausHalten e.V. arranges an interim tenancy contract with the owner of the building. The building is usually let rent free for the term of the contract. The rights of use and brokerage of the building are transferred to HausHalten e.V. All ownership rights and property duties remain with the owner. An option to prematurely terminate the contract in well founded cases is part of the tenancy contract.
  2. HausHalten e.V. rents for free the buildings to “house guardians”, agreeing that they pay the occurring operating costs of the building, they do independent repair input in the building interior and control the unused parts of the building. “House guardians” have to be paying members of HausHalten e.V.


For Haushalten e.V. people who have a special social, cultural, or commercial attraction for the neighbourhood are of special interest as house occupants and guards for the houses.


The “house guardians” are free to design and refurbish the houses according to their needs and aesthetics. This makes them bring their craft and arts skills to the improvement of the buildings. The labour and maintenance of the apartments and remaining areas of the house become the reimbursement to the owner of the house in lieu of rent.


The house occupants become guards of the house. Their presence helps prevent vandalism, limits weather damage and insures general maintenance. Since general wear and potentially damaging problems are discovered by the occupants early, they can be minimized. The owner benefits by being relieved of the running costs and concern of the day-to-day maintenance of the house. The owner’s responsibility rests with arranging for the provision of electrical, heating and water supplies to the houses. In some situations owners are able to secure funds for contribution towards making the house basically usable.


City information

Population size: 501 th - 1 m
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: Other specific territory
Project geographical area: City centre
Project/building proportions: Over 1000 sqm; Project Area: No data/not applicable
Project main actors: NGO, Philanthropy; Potential users (interested in the project in that way); Owners
Project dominant property ownership: Private
Project development stage (at the time of description): No data/not applicable
Project duration: No data/not applicable
Project starting date: No data/not applicable

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

Contact Person

HausHalten e.V.,