The left-wing faction in Berlin wants to increase the proportion of social housing in new housing construction to 60 percent. This is to be agreed in the “Alliance for New Housing and Affordable Housing”. This emerges from a position paper by the spokeswoman for urban development, Katalin Gennburg, and the spokesman for rents and housing, Niklas Schenker, which is exclusively available to the Tagesspiegel.

For larger construction projects with development plans, builders conclude contracts with the state in which they undertake to take certain measures. In addition to rent control, according to the will of the left, this should also include a ban on converting 80 percent of the apartments into ownership. Housing companies should also undertake to allocate 20 percent of the space for commercial units to social organizations or small businesses.

In principle, Gennburg and Schenker support the Greens’ proposal for a five-year rent moratorium, which is to be agreed within the alliance. According to their understanding, rents should be allowed to rise by a maximum of one percent annually over the five years – and only up to the point where the local comparative rent is reached.

If the rent is more than 20 percent above the average, it should be allowed to be reduced to ten percent above the average. With their demands, Gennburg and Schenker are massively increasing the pressure on the housing alliance set up by Prime Minister Franziska Giffey (SPD).

Recently it became known that there are hardly any binding agreements with the housing companies in a draft of the final paper. The two politicians describe the body as a “double nuisance” because Parliament is not involved and they see little chance of sustainable improvements through voluntary agreements with the real estate industry.

The politicians are once again questioning the Senate’s new building targets agreed in the coalition agreement. It’s not possible “completely without new construction”, but in times of the climate crisis one has to ask oneself whether “build, build, build” can be a solution at all.

“Building rubble and mixed construction waste make up about half of all Berlin’s waste,” both argue. At the same time, the coalition is also bound to the goal of net zero sealing of the city. Left faction leader Carsten Schatz tried on Sunday to classify the debate about new construction. Significantly greater citizen participation is crucial, especially in the case of densification projects.

The municipal housing associations would have to approach the residents at an early stage and present their projects to them. “In the end, things go faster and better.” However, in contrast to Gennburg and Schenker, Schatz emphasized that this was not a fundamental rejection of densification: “For us, the question of densification is a question of how.”

He expressed his opposition to the proposal that state-owned housing companies should also build condominiums. “Not only red-red-green, but already red-black had decided not to privatize any more urban land,” said Schatz.

A sale of partial areas as condominiums is a privatization of urban land, said the parliamentary group leader. “But we ruled that out together in Berlin. The SPD has obviously changed its position if it wants to now,” said Schatz.