• Germany's news in English

Party for tenants as coalition agrees rent cap

DPA/The Local · 25 Feb 2015, 10:47

Published: 25 Feb 2015 10:47 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Party representatives agreed on these and other sticking points in social policy during a four-hour late-night session at the Chancellor's Office that ended early Wednesday.

Under the draft law, new rental contracts in areas of high demand for housing can only exceed average local rents by a maximum of ten percent. This is calculated according to the square-metre floor space price.

Exceptions to the rent cap are new-build homes and "also initial leasing after extensive modernisation" of existing properties, Justice Minister Heiko Maas said after the meeting.

Individual states will determine which housing regions the rent caps will apply to, depending on the level of available housing. Existing rental contracts will not be affected.

In another win for tenants, responsibility for paying estate agents' fees will be transferred from them to owners or landlords who commission an agent's services.
But renters will still have to pay if they hire a broker to help them find an apartment.
The housing bill had divided Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the leftist Social Democratic Party (SPD).
Due to heavy lobbying by the real estate branch, the CDU had vigorously opposed shifting responsibility for paying agents fees to owners.
"We welcome that the CDU/CSU and the SPD have finally come to an agreement," the director of the German Tenants' Association (DMB), Lukas Siebenkotten, said in a first reaction.

"The rent cap that we have long demanded will come, and the principle that he who orders pays will be introduced in broker's regulations. This is good news for tenants."

But conditions still contained in the rent cap legislation threaten to undermine it, the DMB said. 

For example, there are no set penalties for landlords who disregarded the legally allowed rent increase, it noted. 

A further planned review of the draft could still fix this shortcoming, Siebenkotten said. Landlords who set the rent too high may then be required to retroactively repay excess sums charged, he suggested.
The DMB expects the new legislation to come into effect by the end of March.
Estate agents fear losing out
At the moment, renters typically pay around two months of rent as brokerage costs, even if the agent is hired by the landlord to represent a property.
This in addition to the upfront cost of moving means many people simply cannot afford to move. 

Almost six out of 10 Germans rent rather than own their homes, according to the federal statistics office. 

Story continues below…
With demand for available housing growing, rocketing rents and stiff agents' fees have created tensions in areas where people live on very limited means.
But the changes will not sit well with the real estate branch, which fears loss of revenues if landlords choose to rent properties independently to save on broker fees. 
In November, leaders of Germany's Real Estate Industry Federation (BVI) urged its 12,000 members to mount a one-day strike action over the issue. But less than a third said they would participate and the idea was dropped.

SEE ALSO: Judge: Landlords can't stop men standing to pee


For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd