As I happen to know the truth,
here are my comments to help you
to avoid factual errors.
GENEVA (29 April 2020) – Multinational corporate property owner Akelius Residential AB is breaching human rights standards with its aggressive push for housing profits in countries around the world, a UN expert said today.
“Akelius’s business model, driven by the desire to maximise profits, has created a hostile environment for its tenants through a severe degradation of housing conditions, higher rents and increased risk or threat of eviction,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing, Leilani Farha.
Swedish-listed Akelius Residential is a prominent landlord with over 44,000 rental apartments, valued at close to $13 billion in North American and European cities.
Farha said she had heard of many cases where Akelius utilises an aggressive business model which wreaks havoc with people’s lives and has told the company its operations in the UK, Canada and Germany are inconsistent with international human rights law on the right to adequate housing.
“I have been told that Akelius purchases apartment blocks, often with tenants already living in them, and then undertakes renovations to communal areas and vacant apartments within the block, regardless of need,” Farha said.
“These renovations are a vehicle for Akelius to charge substantially increased rents to both new and existing tenants, enabling it to circumvent vital rent-control regulations which commonly allow for above-control rent increases where modernization works are undertaken.”
The renovations have left residents living in unsafe, construction sites for months and sometimes without running water and central heating.
“Some tenants have also been threatened with eviction to enable further renovations to take place,” the Special Rapporteur said.
“Although it does a lot for charity, Akelius’s business model is trampling on the human rights of its tenants, decreasing housing habitability, affordability and security of tenure,” Farha said.
“Commercial landlords like Akelius have an independent responsibility to respect human rights, which means that they must conduct human rights due diligence in order to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address adverse impacts on the right to housing,” the expert said.
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity.
Ms. Farha founded SHIFT,
being its director.
Housing shall not be a place to invest excess capital,
but providing housing facilities as a place for people to live with dignity, raise families and participate more actively in the community.
Leilani Farha is not,
and has never been a UN employee.
She duped the UN into publishing her political opinion.
The references to original sources and facts are
I have heard
I have been told
Akelius breach human rights by a desire of making
Making profits does not imply a breach of human
Created a hostile environment for its tenants through a severe degradation of housing conditions, higher rents and increased risk or threat of eviction.
Akelius' policy is to act honorable.
Is there any company in any industry
that creates a hostile environment for its clients,
or performs severe degradation of service conditions?
Real life is the contrary.
Akelius strives, year after year,
to improve service and housing conditions.
Ms. Fahra accuses Akelius of
a severe degradation of housing conditions
renovations to communal areas and vacant apartments.
Sorry, but these two accusations are a contradiction.
renovates regardless of need
No company would renovate regardless of need.
Tenants appreciate a beautiful home with qualities.
Akelius' business idea is a better living.
Akelius gets five times more applicants for an upgraded apartment, than for a similar non-renovated one.
The clients get a better living.
Some tenants have also been threatened with eviction to enable further renovations to take place.
That has never happened.
Akelius upgrades empty apartments.
After one tenant has decided to leave,
Akelius renovates and upgrades to the standard that new applicants desire.
Akelius has never threatened with eviction due to rent increase.
Akelius' business model is trampling on the human rights of its tenants, decreasing housing habitability, affordability and security of tenure.
What? Why? How?
Vast cities lack affordable housing,
and have districts where people avoid living.
In such areas, there are all sorts of frustration.
I am impressed how city councils and politics are
addressing such complex problems.
Akelius works together with several city councils to
- offer numbers of apartments to the local social
department, such as giving homes to recover
after misuse of alcohol, drugs or after prison
- renovates houses,
upgrades the environment,
transferring ugly properties into
good quality homes
Akelius strives to act honorably.
Ms. Farha does not present a single proof.
She pops up populistic, fabricated, generalized
and unfounded accusations.
The main messages from Ms. Farha are
- profit is a breach of human rights
- renovating residential properties is not needed
It is a shame and bad management that the UN
publishes populistic accusations,
without any verification of the content.
Akelius is an appreciated partner to the serious,
honorable organizations such as UNICEF and UNHCR.
I lived on the island of Abaco in the Bahamas the winter seasons, from 2006 until the Dorian hurricane 2019.
Akelius employees had their officer in Marsh Harbor.
The Bahamas authorities tried to establish a financial hub,
similar to Switzerland.
The US has forced the Bahamas to have a transparent banking system.
In 2007, I examined legal systems in several countries suitable for establishing a charity foundation.
My requirements were to have
- the main owner of the Akelius group
- a serious legal entity for the next hundred years
- reduced risk for fraud or misbehavior
I first tried my home country Sweden.
The Akelius Foundation may one year donate
one hundred million euros, such as 2022,
and the following year maybe thirty million euros.
Sweden demands a certain amount to be donated
yearly according to dividends.
Otherwise, the foundation is punished via tax.
Worse is that Swedish legislation does not tolerate only one type of asset, such as owning the Akelius group.
The authorities demand a diversified portfolio,
with a set of shares and bonds.
I lived several years in both England and Cyprus.
These countries offer legislation for trusts,
but not for foundations.
A trust means handing over my assets to trustees,
A huge amount of money may change the mind of serious people.
Switzerland and Luxembourg demand local staff in local offices.
The local staff decides.
I investigated the legislation in some more countries.
The Bahamas upgraded its foundation legislation in 2004.
The founder selects the first set of council members,
and protectors for safeguarding.
They elect new members themselves.
In the charter I demand authorized auditors,
presently Ernst & Young.
Creating a foundation means to give away to
a legal entity.
The founder writes the rules how to govern the
foundation in a charter document.
I have transferred 85 percent of my previous shares in the Akelius group to the Akelius foundation, as a gift.
I have no possibility to reclaim any amount of this gift.
Akelius invests in residential real estate in the US,
Canada, England, France and Cyprus.
Akelius companies are taxed locally.
Each local company could donate a small amount
directly to UNICEF, UNHCR, SOS Children Villages,
or Doctors without Borders.
For administrative reasons and for donating the total amount,
Akelius companies send dividends to the owner,
the Akelius Foundation.
There is no tax advantage donating via Akelius Foundation, instead of direct donation.
The tax burden could only increase via such transfers.
There is no possible method for Akelius to achieve a lower tax using a foundation on the Bahamas.
I have no legal way of using the assets I gave away to the Akelius Foundation.
In 1987 I started an IT company in Cyprus,
with thirty coders programming the Swedish and Norwegian tax fulfilment documents.
Auditors and lawyers in Sweden used the application to help six million clients.
Four million in Sweden,
two million in Norway.
Akelius owns sixteen properties,
and has fifty employees in Cyprus.
I rent a house near the beach.