Berlin Expat Blog – Expat Mgmt – Relocation Service Berlin – Your Life Hack for Berlin Bureaucracy
Expats and local Berliners don’t have it easy when it comes to flat search in Berlin. The Berlin housing market is extremely competitive. Affordable apartments are scarce. As anyone would, Berlin Expats, find it frustrating that they apply to numerous apartments and don’t get a single feedback. Until they get to us, everyone tells them “Berlin is cheap.” You know “poor but sexy.” When in reality, in the last years, it has been nearly impossible to find really cheap apartments in the city center.
Besides housing, Berlin is an affordable city. You can easily afford groceries for your family, afterwork drinks, and concert tickets. Monthly transportation is a real bargain. CHILD CARE IS nearly FREE (not that this system is working well, another subject for another day). The lack of affordable housing has led the government to step in…Say Willkommen to the MIETENDECKEL.
What is the Mietendeckel?
Berlin’s Rent Freeze Podcast are calling it “revolutionary”. Berlin is always having something controversial; you know the BER airport, but not quite like this. Mietendeckel is the German word for rent cap. It started last summer. We heard it from the media, that there would be a rental cap. A few months later, they said rent cap was approved by the senate. From the end of February, the rent cap is in full swing for new contracts. Landlords who rent apartments above the new rental cap, can be fined up to 500,000 Euro.
Based on our research these are the important takeaways from the new law:
- Rent is frozen for most housing for the next 5 years
- Whatever your rent was in June 18th, 2019 – it will and cannot change (except for a small increases based on inflation).
- Exceptions: New flats built after 2014.
- Includes Temporary Housing: Furnished Apartments, & Shared Apartments.
- No more increased rental contracts (Staffelmiete)
- 4 Million apartments are affected
- New Contracts that are signed will be affected
Why are some people against the law?
Some say that the problem is that there aren’t enough apartments in Berlin.
The solution is investors that invest in building new apartment projects. They are convinced that the new law will discourage new building projects. Others say, that builders aren’t being paid well enough so the root cause to apartments not being built in the city.
Will the law be thrown out?
The question as to whether or not, the state of Berlin, has the right to pass this law is causing some confusion. The law has already been brought to the constitutional court, and this won’t be the only court ruling on the subject. Leaving landlord’s, tenants, experts, expats, and relocation specialists totally confused.
The problem is we don’t know what happens next. This week we have already seen flats advertised on Immobilien Scout with rents that are conform. Some of us were even shocked by the pricing, it looks like a common scam. The problem is, we also saw paragraphs in these advertisements, that if the rent cap should be ruled unconstitutional at some point, that the tenants will have to pay back what they owe based on the rent the agency wanted them to pay before the rent cap.
What are we doing?
How are we supposed to explain the above to our flat search clients? It doesn’t even make sense. Just today we read that one court found the ruling unconstitutional. Another said that the federal constitutional court won’t use the emergency brake to stop the law now.
Expat Mgmt will continue to stay informed on the topic and inform our clients accordingly – which might mean that the Expats are informed to set aside more money than they are paying per month per rent, despite the rent cap. As backwards as this sounds, it’s the best scenario for this turbulent situation.
You can learn more here:
KCRW Radio Show
The Rent Freeze Podcast
Viel Spaß, Viel Glück & Viel Erfolg.
Du packst das schon!!!
Your Expat Mgmt Team