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Rental apartments in Berlin: Referendum on a law

Photo: Soeren Stache / dpa

Two years after its successful referendum, the Berlin-based initiative "Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen & Co" has announced a second attempt to socialize large housing companies. This time, she wants to let Berliners vote on a socialization law, as representatives of the initiative announced on Tuesday in front of the Red City Hall. This is to prevent the Senate from delaying the implementation of the request. This is exactly what the initiative has repeatedly accused state politicians of so far.

Since the successful referendum in September 2021, the situation on Berlin's housing market has deteriorated significantly, the initiative argued. For many, rents are hardly affordable. The landlords squeezed the tenants like never before. It therefore now wants to tackle the drafting of a corresponding law. To finance its activities, it wants to launch a crowdfunding campaign. How long all this will take is an open question.

Hope for a law

The hope is that in the end the planned law will slow down further rent increases. Achim Lindemann, who speaks for the initiative, estimates the chances of getting the necessary approval even at a voting date independent of House of Representatives or Bundestag elections are good. 80 percent of the people in Berlin live in rented accommodation and the rent crisis continues to worsen. In the referendum, at least a quarter of all Berliners entitled to vote must support the cause.

In the successful referendum on September 26, 2021, a good 59 percent of voters voted for the socialization of real estate companies with more than 3000 apartments in Berlin. The then red-green-red Senate then set up a commission of experts, which began work in April 2022. In its final report, which was presented at the end of June, it came to the conclusion that the socialisation of housing companies was legally possible.

However, the black-red Senate does not intend to take advantage of this opportunity quickly. He has announced that he will first draw up a framework law on socialisation, which will not come into force until two years after its promulgation. Before that, it is to be reviewed by the Federal Constitutional Court.