CDU announces policy built to tackle Berlin housing crisis
The CDU opposition party to the German government's traffic-light coalition has announced its plan to tackle Berlin’s housing crisis - and it includes adding a new district to the city.
CDU opposition reveals policy to confront housing crisis in Berlin
The CDU and CSU, its sister party based in Bavaria, have put forward a plan to remedy the crisis overwhelming the housing market in Berlin. The 30-page long proposition calls for “fair housing for all” which intends to address the series of problems which are currently leaving many feeling Berliners insecure; poor protection for renters, lack of new housing being built and the unaffordability of buying property.
The plan includes a number of policies which would aim to reduce current and future housing crises in the city. The party would like to introduce a public registry (Mietenkataster) which would list the cost of all rental accommodation. The system would enable renters to easily search online before signing a rental contract to find out what the reasonable rent for a house or apartment in their area would be, for example using other units in the same block of flats or surrounding area as a reference.
According to the CDU plan, if you were renting and you found out via the online rental index that you were paying a disproportionate amount of rent, you would be able to contact an independent rental inspection authority (unabhängige Mieten-Prüfstelle) for advice. The independent authority would include an arbitration board (Schiedstelle) with the authority to make decisions on renters claims, therefore removing the need to go to court.
Housing benefit and student accommodation updates
The CDU, a party with 30 Berlin MPs in the German Bundestag, also want to make significant policy changes to social and student housing. Under their plan, the eligibility income limits for social housing would increase. The party has said that this policy would address the growing number of people who have little chance of finding affordable rental accommodation in Berlin’s housing crisis, but also earn too much to qualify for social housing.
To reckon with the disappearance of affordable student housing in Germany the conservative party’s plan also outlines the development of a student housing coordination office within the existing state-run Studentenwerk organisation, and to speed up renovation of student halls of residence.
CDU wants to build on Tempelhof park
The CDU has also voiced plans to build on Tempelhofer Feld, once an airport it is now Berlin’s biggest public park. This policy suggestion comes despite 63,4 percent of the city's eligible voters having decided against building on the field in a 2014 referendum. Echoing previous plans laid out by the liberal FDP, the CDU believes that building along the outskirts of the park could be one answer to the housing crisis. The party has said that Berliners would once again be asked their thoughts on the matter, before any decision was made.
On top of this, the CDU plans suggests the adding 13th district to Berlin with space for 60.000 houses and apartments, which would lie partly within the federal state of Brandenburg.
“The Berlin housing market has gone off the rails,” CDU leader Kai Wegner told Berliner Zeitung on Sunday, shortly after the CDU released its plan. The newspaper saw Wegner’s statement as a sign that the centre-right party has already begun to assess which policies could bring them back into power after losing the chancellor’s office to the SPD in the federal election last autumn. “This is an emergency and the SPD, Greens and the Left Party are responsible”, said Wegner, whose party was in government for 57 of the 72 years of the Federal Republic of Germany's existence.
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