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Here’s how Berlin residents can find out if they’re paying too much rent

Here's how Berlin residents can find out if they're paying too much rent
Berlin Mitte. Photo: DPA
As the next stage of Berlin's rental cap law begins, the local government has launched a calculator for residents to find out if they are paying too much rent.

Berlin's Senate Department for Housing estimates that around 340,000 tenants are paying excessive rent costs.

But how do you know if you're one of them?

Well, for several months tenants have been able to work out what they should be paying according to the rent freeze law (Mietendeckel-Gesetz) with the help of service providers such as Wenigermiete.de and the Berlin Tenants' Association (BMV).

And now an official rent freeze calculator has been made available by the Berlin authorities, which tenants can use to to find out if their rent is within the legally prescribed limits.

READ ALSO: 7 things you should know when looking for a flat in Berlin

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Second stage of rent law begins

The calculation tool is important because on Monday, November 23rd, the second stage of the rental freeze law begins.

From this date, landlords have to reduce rents in existing rental agreements if the upper limits defined in the law are exceeded by more than 20 percent.

According to the Senate Department for Housing, some 340,000 households are paying excessive rents – including almost 30,000 in municipal housing associations.

The law means that around 1.5 million homes in the capital will have their rents frozen for five years at the price they were on June 2019 price. From 2022, landlords can increase by a maximum of 1.3 percent of the net rent agreed annually.

It also states that landlords cannot charge rents higher than what the previous tenant paid.

New flats which were ready for occupancy from 2014, social housing and residential homes are not covered by the law.

How can I find out if I'm paying too much?

The new rent cap calculator for Berlin should help both tenants and landlords to determine what the costs should be.

It calculates the net cold rent, taking into account the residential address/location, the size of the flat as well as the equipment, year of construction and any modernisation measures.

If the result is above the legally permissible level, tenants can contact their landlord themselves to ask for it to be reduced, or involve the Senate Department for Urban Development and Housing.

READ ALSO: Berlin to freeze rents for five years: What you need to know

The law is currently being challenged in court so there is still uncertainty if it will stay in place. Tenants who are paying a lower rate may be forced to pay back the difference in future so they are urged to put the money saved to one side incase the ruling falls in favour of landlords.

The Federal Constitutional Court ruling is expected next year.

“With the new computer tool you can find out within minutes whether you yourself are affected,” said Sebastian Scheel (of the Left party), Senator for Urban Development and Housing.

“If the landlord does not act on his or her own, the administration will enforce the tenants' claim. Until a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court, expected in the middle of next year, I advise tenants to put the money they have saved aside.”

READ ALSO: Berlin passes five year rent freeze law

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Member comments

  1. I don’t know if you’ve been told, but the official calculator does not work. Tried it with 3 different addresses. Says it can’t match the street with the street number and the postal code.

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