• Germany's news in English
 
Berlin neighbourhood fights gentrification
Photo: DPA

Berlin neighbourhood fights gentrification

Published: 22 Dec 2012 09:14 GMT+01:00

The city's northeastern Pankow neighbourhood is also not allowing two smaller apartments to be made into a larger space and will prohibit landlords from building a second bathroom, the Berliner Zeitung reported on Friday. The new rules take effect in January.

A local politician in charge of construction said about 45,000 flats will be affected by the changes. The restrictions do not apply to new construction and people living in owner-occupied flats can carry out luxury renovations on them. They just can’t rent them out that way.

Flats designated as residential housing can also not be rezoned for commercial use and they cannot be used as vacation homes. Local officials estimate that in one small section of the neighborhood some 1,000 smaller flats were lost because landlords combined smaller units together to make larger, more luxurious spaces.

Building lifts is not prohibited, however, even thought that typically raises the value of the property. Local building officials want to promote barrier-free living and also recognize that the population is aging and more lifts will be needed, the paper said.

Officials recognise that there are plenty of people who can pay higher rents, but they want to protect long-time residents of the neighbourhood, many of whom have had to leave due to rising rents.

A state secretary in the Berlin city government praised the measures, but also said the new rules are not for every part of the city.

According to city forecasts, the Pankow district, which also includes the thoroughly gentrified area of Prenzlauer Berg, will experience the highest growth rate of all Berlin neighbourhoods, with forecasts showing a 16.3 percent increase in residents by 2030, when it is expected to house 437,200 Berliners.

The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

15:05 December 22, 2012 by whiteriver
Yeah, if I can't have it, you can't either. Let's have a german version of Kowloon Walled city: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kowloon_Walled_City
15:45 December 22, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Oh woe to anyone who should try to raise the value of their property. Cannot have that now can we. I can see this one hit the courts like a Tsunami.
16:21 December 22, 2012 by IchBinKönig
The truth is, when these people talk about inequality; They do not want to be helped up, in so much as they want wealthier people to be brought down to their level. Of course, the Government is more than happy to accommodate their Class Warfare, since the money ends up in Government coffers.

Gone are they days improving. We are now in the Social Justice phase of Socialism.
19:14 December 22, 2012 by owlguard
I understand the Amercian view of this type of legislative action but Europeans hold a different phylosophy than Americans. When American find a wall in their way they engineer a way around it, over it, and through it. Europeans find a wall and they adapt to it, accepting it. Of course theis is a simplified example and a very broad generalization but I have seen it in action. The bottom line is reasonable housing is in short supply. New construction is expensive and land is at a premium, often times regulated so that it can not be used for housing. The new law only applies to rented appartments and not owner occupied space. I would like to know how german's feel about this legislation.
19:29 December 22, 2012 by Zlik
Modernizations, are increases on top of rent. I like this group mentioned that oppose.
02:24 December 23, 2012 by Raydoggy
I like the German idea that a house for living in, not being used to make a profit from flipping it.

The thing that makes Berlin special, is the cheap rents, because it allows people to have a life and get off the treadmill for a moment, unlike other cities where housing is seen as an investment commodity, and young people are now forced out of ever owning their own home.

I own an apartment, but I'd be happy if the prices never went up, so that I can keep the rent low and have young creative people continue to rent it. The last thing Berlin needs is to turn into New York or London, full of suits who have made both cities soulless. I love Berlin.
02:36 December 23, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
@owlguard

'Flats designated as residential housing can also not be rezoned for commercial use and they cannot be used as vacation homes.'

I think this may apply to owner occupied apartments also. If so this may be a major shake up in ownership rights and will surely result in an avalaunce of legal challenges.

Not that I rely on TL to have trangressed the article into Ex-Pat furmula English.
15:24 December 23, 2012 by catjones
Raydoggy...if you own your apartment you can set your rental price wherever you choose regardless of market purchase prices.

Speculation (by definition) does not ensure profits. Search for 'housing bubble' and 'under water'.
16:44 December 23, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
@catjones

'Flats designated as residential housing can also not be rezoned for commercial use and they cannot be used as vacation homes.'

As I said in my previous post. This looks like flat owners in Pankow cannot rent their flats any more as vacation homes. This is a restriction on ownership rights and I reckon it will be challenged. I own a flat in Charlottenburg and would not like this to happen in my Bezirk.
Today's headlines
German bank sues Ecclestone for €345mn
Photo: DPA

German bank sues Ecclestone for €345mn

German bank BayernLB is seeking €345 million ($423 million) in a lawsuit against Formula One magnate Bernie Ecclestone over the 2006 sale of the sport's rights, according to a report. READ  

Löw aims for Euro 2016 with new-look Germany
Joachim Löw holding the World Cup trophy. File photo: DPA

Löw aims for Euro 2016 with new-look Germany

World Cup winners Germany have suffered something of a hangover since their triumph in Brazil, but coach Joachim Löw is hoping a new-look side can go on to claim more glory at Euro 2016. READ  

T-Mobile to pay $90 mn over US fraud charges
Photo: DPA

T-Mobile to pay $90 mn over US fraud charges

German mobile phone company T-Mobile has agreed to pay at least $90 million to settle US government claims that it bilked customers with bogus charges, US regulators said Friday. READ  

Ethics Council rejects assisted suicide law
Photo: DPA

Ethics Council rejects assisted suicide law

The German Ethics Council said the law should not be changed to permit assisted suicide in a paper published on Friday. READ  

Abandoned themepark needs 14m says Berlin
Swan Lake. An abandoned ride in the Spreewald pleasure park. Photo: DPA

Abandoned themepark needs 14m says Berlin

The iconic ruined themepark in the centre of Berlin - a long-time favourite of hipster adventurers - needs a clean-up costing at least 14 million euros, the Berlin government has revealed. READ  

Police nab Nuremberg station bomb hoaxer
File photo of Nuremberg main station: Shutterstock

Police nab Nuremberg station bomb hoaxer

Officers in Nuremberg arrested a man on Thursday evening after he called in a false bomb threat against the main train station READ  

Opinion
Angela, David...and Nigel
So near...and yet so far Photo: DPA

Angela, David...and Nigel

The rise of UKIP broke up what had been a good 2014 for Cameron and Merkel. READ  

'Dr Death' corpse museum gets go-ahead
Dr Gunther von Hagens. Photo: DPA

'Dr Death' corpse museum gets go-ahead

A Berlin court has said that infamous human taxidermist Gunther von Hagens can open a museum in the capital - over objections from local officials. READ  

Presented by Phorms Education
Phorms bilingual schools boast top-notch tech
Photo: Phorms Education

Phorms bilingual schools boast top-notch tech

As parents fret over children’s internet habits, a network of bilingual schools in Germany shows that putting computers in the classroom from an early age yields positive results. READ  

Networks scramble to patch mobile security
Chancellor Angela Merkel has herself been the victim of phone hacking. Photo: DPA

Networks scramble to patch mobile security

IT experts led by Berlin-based Karsten Nohl said on Thursday they had discovered security flaws in the mobile phone networks that would allow attackers to read users' messages. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Willy Brandt at his inauguration in 1972. Photo: DPA
National
Willy Brandt: the man, the chancellor... the airport?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Sponsored Article
Why are these International Baccalaureate students cheering?
Germany's national football team lifts the World Cup trophy
Gallery
Germany's most-Googled words of 2014
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Stuff your face with these festive German cookies
Photo: DPA
Culture
What do beer, breakfast cereal and dildos have in common?
Culture
The Local's guide to German Christmas markets
Sponsored Article
Top five quirky Christmas jumpers
Photo: DPA
Culture
Get ready for Christmas like a German. We tell you how.
Photo: DPA
Munich
She did what with her dead mother?
Photo: DPA
National
Germany still paying for crisis fall out
Photo: DPA
Culture
Saxon wurst is the worst, Christmas market declares.
Photo: DPA
Politics
Can 'sorry' ever be enough for the Linke?
Sponsored Article
Shop Christmas gifts at Debenhams international store
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles through December 19th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,224
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd