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Los Angeles sues ‘slumlord’ Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank, Germany's largest, will face legal action in Los Angeles after a US court denied the bank's bid to dismiss a case claiming it let hundreds of properties fall into disrepair and illegally evicted tenants.

Los Angeles sues 'slumlord' Deutsche Bank
Photo: DPA

The Californian city will go ahead with civil action against the bank, subsidiaries of which bought up over 2,000 properties during the US housing boom, Reuters news agency reported.

Slamming the bank as a “slumlord,” Los Angeles accused it of illegally evicting low-income tenants to sell houses off at a higher price, letting empty properties fall into disrepair and failing to maintain those being lived in, the website of Der Spiegel magazine reported on Thursday.

Poorer areas have been mostly affected, the city claimed. It added that Deutsche Bank’s behaviour had pushed down property value and piled extra stress on the Los Angeles’s public services.

Deutsche Bank has told the Los Angeles court that it will fight against the charges and that it does not have responsibility over the addresses in question.

Spokesman from the bank Duncan King told Reuters that “the bank is disappointed in…allowing the case to proceed, we continue to believe the Los Angeles City Attorney has sued the wrong party and will continue to defend ourselves vigorously.”

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It the city wins the case, the court may order Deutsche Bank to bring properties up to scratch and stop evicting people.

The bank’s property branch is no stranger to legal troubles. Der Spiegel reported that paid out a €202 million settlement after it’s US subsidiary MortgageIT was sued.

The Local/jcw

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PROPERTY

Why Germany is mulling an extension to property tax deadline

Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) is seeking talks with state leaders to arrange a possible extension to the deadline for submitting the new property tax declaration. Here's what's going on.

Why Germany is mulling an extension to property tax deadline

Under plans to reform how property tax is calculated, around 36 million homeowners in Germany have been asked to fill in a tax declaration this year. 

The deadline for submitting the new declaration is currently set to expire at the end of October. But according to Finance Minister Lindner, just a quarter to a third of property owners have completed their tax return so far. 

Speaking on the RTL/ntv programme Frühstart, the FDP politician said he would arrange talks with the state premiers this week in order to pitch a deadline extension of at least a few months. 

“My offer: we extend the deadline for submitting the property tax return by a manageable period of time,” he said.

Lindner said it was important to be “realistic” about the fact that some citizens, especially older property owners and pensioners, felt overwhelmed with the tax return. 

He also acknowledged that there had been problems with the software for submitting tax returns, which had added to homeowners’ woes. 

Reform has faced numerous hurdles

The new system will primarily calculate the tax rate using land value and rent, though states will be able to introduce other regulations.

Advocates of the change say the new system is fairer than the current one that bases the tax rate on the (often outdated) value of the property. 

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However, attempts to carry out the largest tax reform since the Second World War have hit numerous hurdles along the way, with property owners complaining of difficulties filling in and submitting the declaration.

There were also issues affecting the government’s Elster tax portal, which was overloaded with users in July after the tax offices started accepting property tax declarations. 

The problems have led to growing calls to extend the deadline until at least January 31st, 2023. 

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