Rents in Berlin would become affordable again

It was too good to be true. The Berlin Mietendeckel (rent ceiling) had to freeze rents in the city for a period of five years. The city council wanted to curb the rapidly rising rents. The law covered 1.5 million homes in the German capital and thus 90 percent of the tenants. Together with the left-wing coalition that is at the helm in Berlin, they are now getting the lid on the nose. The Constitutional Court closed the law on Thursday.

The Mietendeckel was introduced in February last year and was immediately considered controversial. It was a feat of the left-wing coalition at the helm in Berlin. There was fierce criticism of the rent ceiling of the national fractions of the Christian Democratic CDU / CSU and the liberal FDP. Parliamentarians from those parties brought the case to the Constitutional Court, as did two Berlin courts.

The law violates the German constitution, the court ruled. The capital Berlin, a separate federal state within Germany, should not have drawn up rules for rents on its own. In Germany, this is regulated at a national level, according to the judges. Federal states are not allowed to decide on this themselves.

The flag is now flying out among the opponents of the rent ceiling. The city council is considering next steps. In progressive Berlin, the socialist parties die Linke and SDP together with die Grünen rule, also known as ‘red-red-green’. Regulating the housing market is one of their main political ambitions.

A contract with two rental prices

Due to the fierce reactions to the Mietendeckel the initiative was shaky from the start. Many landlords looked to the cat from the tree, and the Berlin housing market was at a standstill last year. On the advice of interest groups, some landlords have stated two amounts on a lease since last year: the price below Mietendeckel and the rent they consider fair given the housing market. With both prices on the contract, they are legally stronger in reclaiming rent now that the law is not legally valid. Tenants must then pay the Mietendeckel refund the discount granted. Vonovia and LEG Immobilien, two major players in the Berlin rental housing market, are not requesting a rent back, they announced on Thursday. Tenants from other parties do fear a peppery bill.

More is rented in Germany than in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, 58 percent of the Dutch live in an owner-occupied home, in Germany 58 percent rent. For single households this is 70 percent. In Berlin, the percentage of tenants is even higher: 85 percent of residents are renting.

All the more problematic that rents in the city have been rising for many years. In the years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the rough and scarred city was a great attraction for young people from the creative sector. Low rents also played a role in this. ‘Arm aber sexy‘a mayor called the city. As Berlin became more popular after the turn of the century, so did rents. In recent years, Berlin rents have doubled. Wages lagged far behind. A national initiative to stop high rents, the Mietbremse (rental brake) was of little use. In other cities with similar problems, such as Amsterdam, New York and Barcelona, ​​the Berlin case was followed with great interest.
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