Source: Claudius Pflug

Yes, says Michael Fabricius


For most citizens, the problem of rising rents does not exist.

You either live in solidly financed homes or in regions where rents are affordable.

There are huge differences between town and country or between existing and new buildings.

In Tübingen, where some owners do not want to build on their land, the mayor has completely different problems than in Berlin, where the strong population growth is accompanied by an extreme rush of investors.

There is no such thing in Cottbus or in Rosenheim.

The existing tenancy law and case law originate from a time with little domestic and immigration, with high interest rates and low investment pressure on real estate.

Today the situation is different.

Therefore, the Basic Law should be changed so that the federal states and municipalities can adapt the tenancy law to the local conditions by means of an opening clause and temporarily tighten it.

In addition, we need strict rules that prevent speculation with building land.


Of course, more needs to be built.

Cities are growing and need well-connected new quarters.

In many cases, however, the new building is of no use to precisely those people who are currently dependent on cheap rental apartments.

In Berlin, someone is currently selling a city property for 90 million euros that they bought three years ago for 30 million euros.

Apartments will be built on it for at least 8,000 euros per square meter - at some point when the busy construction companies have time.

Such a newly built apartment is of no use to the retired couple a few streets away if they have previously paid 650 euros in rent and now have to move out because the landlord wants to maximize his profit.

People are priced out of their familiar surroundings.

Is it that kind of market that we want?

I do not think so.

Economists are mistaken in believing that the housing market works like the potato market, where a high supply of potatoes leads to low prices.

In cities like Frankfurt, Munich or Berlin, the forces of the market are no longer sufficient to create a balance of interests.


High prices create an incentive to increase supply.

This incentive has long been there on the housing market.

There is a construction boom - by the way, most of the construction work is going on where the rental price brake applies.

In the case of existing rental apartments, however, landlords often only take advantage of the scarcity.

This is not a plea for a Berlin rental cap.

With its arbitrary price table, the Senate has catastrophically overshot its target.

But it is a plea for a city where normal wage earners have a place.

The author has been living in a condominium on the outskirts of Berlin for ten years, which he could no longer afford despite low interest rates.

Source: Claudius Pflug

No, says

Dorothea Siems


Greedy landlords and real estate speculators are excellent enemies.

And because the majority of the population in Germany does not live in their own four walls but for rent, it is tempting for politicians in the election campaign to sell (even) stricter regulation of the housing market as a social project.

Especially since not only low-income citizens, but also all better-off households expect a financial advantage if rents are frozen or even reduced by law for years to come.

The red-red-green Senate in Berlin had decided on this radical form of regulation single-handedly.

But the Federal Constitutional Court conceded the "Berlin rent cap" because responsibility for the broad lines of housing policy lies solely with the federal government.

That is why the SPD, the Greens and the Left are now striving for a Germany-wide rent cap.

Lawyers argue whether the highest court would tolerate such a restriction of the property guarantee enshrined in the Basic Law.

It is clear that not only the economic but also the social consequences would be fatal.

Because stricter regulations are the wrong answer because they exacerbate the basic problem - the shortage of affordable living space in sought-after locations.

Undeniably, there are undesirable developments on the local housing market.

The glut of money from the European Central Bank is driving real estate prices, because in the era of zero interest rates, not only corporations but also private individuals are looking for secure investments.

Rents follow this development.

In addition, there is immigration from abroad, which brought Germany population growth up to the outbreak of the Corona crisis - and accordingly created more demand in the housing market, which was already tight in many places.

However, it is a myth that the grand coalition would have watched the development pass by.

A rent brake was already decided in 2015, which curbs the increase.

In addition, the housing benefit for poorer households rose.

Funds for social housing were also increased.

There is still pressure in the boiler.

But a new lid would only scare off investors.

Then the urgently needed new building would progress even more slowly.

And the renovation of existing houses would also not happen in the future.

The socially disadvantaged in particular would then no longer have a chance on the housing market.

If politicians want to help all tenants, they must promote the new building as much as possible instead of neglecting it - as is not only the case in Berlin.

After reunification in Berlin, the author was able to experience how quickly the housing market relaxed due to a growing supply: At that time, renovations and construction were under high pressure.