Berlin coalition government cuts back on housing policy
After weeks of negotiations, Berlin’s new CDU / SPD government have revealed their coalition agreement, with a cut-back housing policy committed to building an average of 20.000 new houses in the German city per year.
CDU / SPD cut back on Berlin housing policy
The CDU / SPD coalition has promised “an average of up to 20.000 new houses per year” which will include “5.000 social housing units” for Berliners. While this is the same level of construction promised by the former SPD-led coalition, which lost out to the conservative CDU in an election last month, the pledge is now a soft target and will not be strictly adhered to.
The new coalition, which will have the CDU’s Kai Wegner as mayor, is also cutting back on the number of housing units that nationalised housing companies are required to build each year. Giffey’s initial SPD policy called for 35.000 new flats to be built in the next five years, equating to 7.000 new apartments per year. The CDU / SPD coalition is now asking for 6.500 each year.
The coalition is planning to add two new districts to Berlin, where the flats would be built. Two contenders for development are the abandoned train station of Güterbahhof in Köpenick and the Buckower Feldern, which lie close to the southern border with Brandenburg. Land in Pankow and Treptow-Köpenick which is currently populated by allotment gardens is also on the list of spaces which could be built on.
What about the 2021 housing referendum?
The results of two Berlin housing referendums of the past decade loom somewhere in the background of Giffey and Wegner's new policies. Unsurprisingly, the idea of building on Tempelhofer Feld is once again being floated as a partial solution to the city’s housing crisis, despite 63,4 percent of locals voting against the motion. The coalition wants to explore “possibilities of a cautious peripheral development” on the Feld but that Berliners would be consulted once again on the matter before any decisions are made.
Since Giffey was elected to office back in 2021, the same day Berlin held its housing referendum to nationalise 240.000 houses and apartments owned by the Deutsche Wohnen & Co property company, her government has done little to enforce the referendum result. Now, the new coalition has revealed its “socialisation framework law,” complete with a very generous deadline.
The agreement outlines that if the Berlin Senate-appointed expert commission concludes that nationalising the Berlin apartments is allowed, the CDU and SPD would pass the socialisation framework law, which would give guidelines on socialisation criteria and appropriate compensation for companies. The agreement also states that the law would “come into force two years after its promulgation,” which means that companies targeted by the referendum would have time to sell their holdings.
Berlin rent control body will be established
Since 2015, there has been a rent control law in the whole of Germany. Using an online calculator renters can find out if they are paying too much rent for the apartment that they are renting. In cases where tenants find out they are entitled to a rent reduction, the CDU / SPD coalition is planning to establish a rent control body to make sure that landlords comply with rent controls.
Currently, if landlords violate rent control laws in Germany, the responsibility is left to tenants to take action on their own. So far, the CDU / SPD plan does not outline what responsibilities the new rent control body will have.
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