Rent cap off: Berlin Senate expects 40.000 tenants in need

The Berlin Senate expects tens of thousands of households in need of financial help. After the end of the rent cap, the tenants could face high back payments. "We are assuming a total of around 40.000 Berliners who could potentially need financial support," says an estimate from the Senate for Urban Development and Housing, which was available to "Welt am Sonntag".

The Berlin Senate takes according to the "Welt am Sonntag" that the rent was reduced for a total of 340.000 tenant households in November 2020. It can be generally assumed that every tenth person affected will potentially get into an economic emergency if the accrued reduction amounts have to be repaid in one fell swoop, the newspaper quoted from the Senate estimate.

In addition, there are tenants who have concluded a new contract or have received an announcement for a rent increase during the period of validity of the rent cap. Many landlords demanded a commitment from the tenant to offset the difference to the table value if the law were to be overturned. The Senate estimates the number of these so-called "shadow rents" according to "Welt am Sonntag" at 57.000. "If one also assumes that ten percent of those who have made a shadow rental agreement need financial support, that would affect around 5700 tenancies."

The Berlin Senate Department announced on Thursday that it wanted to support tenants who could be financially overwhelmed with an additional payment. as reported by the »Tagesspiegel«.

The Berliner rent cap was unique in Germany; the law passed by the red-red-green coalition was initially limited to 2025. On February 23, 2020, the existing rents for 1,5 million apartments in the capital were frozen - to the level of June 2019. In the event that tenants change, the law stipulates that the old rent will remain or upper limits apply.

Rents that are more than 20 percent above the upper limit for the apartment were considered too high. Since November 23, affected landlords have been legally obliged to lower them. Violations could result in a fine of up to 500.000 euros. The rent cap did not apply to new apartments that were completed from 2014 onwards. The regulation was limited to five years, i.e. until 2025.