Breakthrough in the design of the Mietendeckels: The round of negotiations with the leaders of the coalition of SPD, Left and Greens on Thursday evening, the biggest issues around the draft work from the House of the Senator for Urban Development and Housing Katrin Lompscher (left) eliminated. Instead of the radical intervention in the market with indiscriminate rent reductions even for top earners, the "Mietendeckel 2.0" comes with far better chances to comply with constitutional principles of proportionality.
It remains the case: From January 11, rents in Berlin will be frozen for five years. The rent index is thereby overruled. Instead, all Berliners continue to pay their previous rent, provided it does not exceed 30 percent of household disposable income. If this "economic distress" of the tenant is given, the rent may be reduced to the state-fixed "Mietoberwerte".
SPD legal expert Julian Zado had previously - as reported - warned against "retroactive" interventions in the rents. The solution to this dilemma, namely to allow this only in economic emergencies and to combine this with the definition of a nationwide by real estate associations as critical regarded percentage financial burden, brought the Greens in the legal text.
Highs for rents are less drastically reduced
However, Senator Lompscher has to re-calculate the upper values. The table from the first draft from her home has rejected the coalition. Instead of the rent from 2011, the compromise is based on the 2013 figures. These rents are higher.
These upper values are also to be adjusted slightly upwards by adding wage developments in Berlin since that time - or, alternatively, inflation. This mitigation also takes into account the warnings of the Federal Constitutional Court that interventions in the market are likely to cut off "price spikes in tight housing markets" and still have to be proportionate.
A "breathing lid" instead of rigid upper limits
There is also a way out in the dispute over the rigid upper limits that Lompscher had preferred. The coalition parties also corrected this and agreed on a "breathing lid" as the Greens had last demanded in the parliamentary debate. This red-red-green wants to prevent that just the fair landlords are punished, who had rarely and moderately increased the rent.
If the coalition agreements are in place, they will be allowed to increase their rents moderately each year even after the law has come into force until they have reached the new "upper limits". This should be done in line with the wages that rise in Berlin in most businesses and on average even faster than in Germany - alternatively, such an "indexation" on the basis of the inflation rate is still in conversation.
1,40 euros more rent per square meter in renovated apartments
And another regulation is new: In order to ensure that rents for beautifully renovated apartments are not disproportionately reduced, a surcharge of 1.40 euros per square meter is planned. The condition is that the work has been done in the last 15 years.
So that the lid does not block all investments, the costs for modernization should be allocated to the tenant with a maximum amount of one euro per square meter. More extensive work, which would result in stronger rent increases, remains possible, but requires approval