Berlin housing policy has failed
Nearly 60,000 people from 250 countries came to the German capital last year. Many are passing through or are looking for refuge in Berlin and many will stay. As it can be assumed that the number of refugees will decrease, immigration will soon level off to a much lower but still high level. Adjusted for refugees or not: In the coming years, Berlin will need more apartments than any other German city. The fact that rents and purchase prices in Berlin are rising is therefore a question of increasing demand. It is not a failure of the market, but a demonstration of years of failed housing policy in the German capital.
The country has given the most important instrument out of its hands: apartments, flats and houses.
From the mid-1990s to the turn of the millennium, the world in Berlin still looked different. Population numbers declined and many Berliners moved to the surrounding area. The official population forecast of 2002 still assumed that the shrinkage would not be stopped for the foreseeable future. Politicians used this occasion to fill the gaps in Berlin's clammy budget by privatizing large parts of the municipal housing stock. Almost 210,000 apartments were privatised between the mid-1990s and 2002 alone. It is interesting to note that until 2014, apartments and plots of land from the municipal stock were sold.
Amnesia in the Red town hall
No one in the Red Council today wants to know anything about the fact that the predecessors and forerunners of the red-red-green coalition in Berlin have been responsible for today's plight, and that even under the red-red-green coalition, a considerable number of state-owned apartments have been sold. It seems easier to portray the housing shortage as the bad result of unleashed speculation with housing space. For this reason alone, the Senate is not prepared to think what it would be like if the more than 200,000 municipal apartments that have been sold were projected to account for 200,000 affordable apartments by 2030.
When left-wing urban policymakers look for solutions, regulation usually results. The Senate intervenes in the housing market wherever it can. Adjustment of the capping limits, extension of protection against dismissal in the event of conversion to condos, prohibition of misappropriation, rental price brake, environmental protection statutes. The mere number of market interventions reveals the Senate's biggest problem: because the country fails to create new housing, it implements one protection mechanism after another, accompanied by campaigns against property and owners.
The creation and maintenance of affordable housing for people with low incomes is a national objective. However, the Senate's regulatory policy is driving the proverbial devil out of Beelzebub's house. The introduction of almost universal environmental protection does not create new housing, but rather reduces the supply of apartments for sale because investors are put off. This makes ownership impossible. As a result, rents continue to rise as a result of the high demand pressure despite environmental protection, and investments are no longer being made in the portfolio. The tenants are exposed to the rental market.
Ownership means retirement provision, identification and social responsibility
In the younger generations, no one seriously believes in a solid state pension scheme for the future. Today, young Berliners are forced to invest in alternative provision components, preferably in their own property in Berlin. The flat being used for rent is also frequently bought since existing flats are cheaper than new construction projects. In addition, residential property stabilises neighbourhood structures, reduces fluctuation and leads to sustainable neighbourhoods. People who live in a residential property identify with their surroundings. With a prohibition on division, the red-red-green senate is forcing anyone who wants to move from rent to property to move and lose their habitual environment. The distribution prohibitions do not serve to preserve the composition of the resident population, as provided for in section 172 of the Construction Code, unless a resident population is understood to be exclusively tenants.
Border to expropriation crossed
Preservation statutes, in addition to this with bans on the splitting up, are the supposedly sharpest instrument of state legislatures in the fight against rising rents and prices. With Paragraph 172 of the Building Code at its back, Berlin submits quarters for quarters to the preservation statutes. What happens afterwards does not only border on expropriation, but crosses it. The authority is no longer the owner, but in most cases the administration. The owner may divide only with unacceptable concessions and cannot make any structural changes or improve obsolete standards without approval.
Preservation statutes, even with bans on distribution, are the supposedly most stringent instrument of state legislators in the fight against rising rents and prices. With Paragraph 172 of the Building Code at its back, Berlin submits quarters for quarters to the preservation statutes. What happens after that is not only confiscated, but also crosses this border. The authority is no longer the owner, but in most cases the authority. The owner may divide only with unacceptable concessions and cannot make any structural changes or improve obsolete standards without approval.
For the tenant from Berlin, the shot is unfortunately backfired. The state forces him, if he wants to remain in his usual environment, to stay in the existing tenancy. It prevents residential property from being built up as a retirement provision and, contrary to its intention, achieves rent increases without improving the quality of life.