A civil chamber of the Berlin district court has questioned part of the controversial rent cover in the capital. In a recent ruling, the court classified the law, which was previously unique in Germany, with state ceilings for rents as constitutional. However, these limits could not have applied retrospectively since June 18, 2019, but only since the rental cover law came into force on February 23, 2020, the judges said. Rent increases beyond the upper limits would therefore only be prohibited from March 2020.

According to the court (AZ 66 S 95/20), the key date contained in the law in the previous year was a material reference point for determining the absolutely permissible rent. But that doesn't change the fact that the legal ban on higher rents on June 18, 2019 did not yet exist.

With the Rent Cover Act, rents for 1.5 million apartments were frozen for five years - at the level of June 18, 2019. On that day, the red-red-green Senate presented the first key points for the cover. From 2020 onwards, existing rents may not increase by more than 1.3 percent annually. If an apartment is rented out again, the landlord must adhere to specified upper limits and the last rent requested.

With the rent cover, the Berlin Senate wants to curb the recent sharp rise in rents in the capital. Lawsuits against the law are pending before the state and federal constitutional courts.

The judgment of the regional court, in turn, related to an individual case, which was about the legality of a rent increase. But it could also be of fundamental importance. Because if this jurisprudence were to continue, Berlin landlords who have not increased rents since June 18, 2019 in the knowledge of the planned rent cover could make up for this - at least until the month of February.

The verdict is not yet legally binding. The district court did not allow an appeal. On the other hand, the plaintiff can appeal to the Federal Court of Justice