Late-night retailer “Lazy Dog” returns – and pleads for amendment of commercial tenancy law

To date, there is no commercial tenancy law that protects against terminations and unlimited rent increases. Tradespeople, craftsmen, cultural workers and social institutions are just as threatened by displacement as residential tenants.

In view of the prominent decision against the rent cap in Berlin and the discussion that has arisen as a result, the amendment of commercial tenancy law at the federal level should also be considered again – the operators of the Lazy Dog believe.


Lazy Dog – what’s with the name?
The name “lazy dog” was invented to fit the cliché of late-night store hot dog vendors who like to sleep late. However, our range of products has developed and specialized in various directions over the past few years. In the meantime, the direct import of beers, mostly from the Czech Republic, also belongs to our activities.
You seem to have been around forever – when did you start?
In 2004 we started in the space formerly used by “Mrs. Martha Focker”, until the listed brick building with gas station next door had to make way for the NETTO store at the end of 2007. Our space was “needed” for six parking spaces. There were no options for remaining on the site.
Lazy Dog 2007  – today Netto parking lot
OK, new building – What happened next?
From 2008 we were for five years in the Wolfgang-Heinze-Str. 20, but the heirs of the landlord saw in our business concept probably too high “conflict potential”, also with the worthy neighborhood. The lease was terminated or not extended with the reference to our business hours, which were then even extended without problems by our successors. 
Lazy Dog 2008 – today Shahia II
OK, change of ownership – And then?
The steadily dwindling supply of commercial space forced us to move towards Markkleeberg. We were skeptical whether we could function down there, but after another eight years on the corner of Wolfgang-Heinze-Str. and Hermannstrasse, we were proven wrong. We were helped by many people who continued to support us, but also by many new customers who were attracted by the assortment, the infamous “cold” service or maybe our active “donation box”. And the hot dogs aren’t bad, are they?
Lazy Dog 2020 - Heute "Copy Cat"
Lazy Dog 2020 – today a Späti (without name)
Nevertheless, you have moved out again in the meantime – is there a system to this?
About a year and a half ago, we learned about the sale of the entire commercial space, including the workrooms of the nursing service. The sum involved was in the high six-figure range. For us, this was not an option. A short time later, we were informed that the buyers were not interested in extending the lease. 
We then immediately sought talks. The demand of the new owners: The continuation of the contract for another five years only with the payment of over 100% higher rent. This was out of the question for us for economic reasons on the one hand and for reasons of rent policy on the other. Further talks and letters were fruitless.
Likewise, the attempt to extend the contract at least until the move to the new business premises remained fruitless. This would have totally helped us economically, as well as our friends and employees who were employed in the transitional area.
The example shows the absolutely non-existent protection mechanisms in commercial tenancy law, there is absolute wild-west style, in contrast to the somewhat regulated tenancy law. 
Operators of friendly restaurants in the neighborhood also reported frequent changes of ownership in recent years. Scene giants such as Vonovia and Deutsche Wohnen keep popping up.
OK, change of ownership – is the lazy dog now coming to rest?
The situation on the market for commercial space had not improved with the interim development of Connewitz. The search became even more difficult. The decisive tip came from a former employee, contacts were made, decisions were made.
Our new domicile is two houses away in the housing project “Wolle43” e.V. The group was able to successfully save one of the last houses in vacancy from speculation. The housing project was looking for users for the commercial unit. Thus, for the first time, we had the chance to experience a rental relationship beyond the classic landlord/tenant relationship. We discussed the lease together, argued about some of the construction work, and celebrated the progress made.
We are currently working together on the expansion of the premises and are confident that we will be able to reopen the doors at the end of May / beginning of June.
Lazy Dog - Baustelle April 2021
Lazy Dog today – The opening is coming

Commercial tenants are relatively unprotected – What do you think is needed? 
The fact that a few days ago the new owners opened a store with certain similarities in our last domicile was already a surprise. The name “Copy-Cat” would perhaps be more appropriate. All the greater was the response or rejection, which was expressed by many friends and acquaintances.
This makes clear once again that the protective mechanisms in the trade law, which needs an urgent amendment, are missing. In addition, there is also a total callousness in the interpersonal dealings with commercial tenants – so more solidarity is needed.

Solidarity – what could it look like?
Of course we would be very happy if our guests would visit us again in the next store. If we can provide our employees and us with jobs again and this was our last move.

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