Germany's largest landlord maintains right to evict even as energy bills explode

FILE PHOTO: New Vonovia headquarters in Bochum

DUESSELDORF (Reuters) - German housing giant Vonovia, which uses gas to heat more than half of its properties, will move to evict tenants who fall behind on payments equal to two months' rent if necessary, according to documents for its investor day seen on Tuesday.

In a step-by-step model, the company would reach out individually to the tenant to look for a solution for late payment, including informing them about how to obtain state aid, with an eviction notice seen as a last resort.

Vonovia Chief Executive Rolf Buch has said that he expects rising energy prices to cost tenants up to two months' rental fees per year.

Buch told Reuters on Tuesday that the company had no interest in people losing their apartment and eviction would only be considered for tenants unwilling to talk to the firm.

"If a tenant has problems and contacts us, we will find a solution," said Buch, adding that Vonovia supported an eviction moratorium that is under discussion.

Vonovia, Germany's largest residential landlord with around 490,000 apartments, has 55% of its heating system supplied by gas. The company said in July that it would reduce heating in many of its apartments at night to save gas.

About 3.7 million households are affected by gas price increases, with a typical household seeing average additional costs of about 1,475 euros ($1,425.00) per year, according to price comparison portal Check24.

($1 = 1.0351 euros)

(Reporting by Matthias Inverardi and Miranda Murray, editing by Rachel More and Madeline Chambers)