The Berlin alliance for housing is splitting instead of uniting – even within the two large camps of tenant representatives and the housing industry. After the Berlin Tenants’ Association, the umbrella organization of the real estate industry will now also not sign the alliance declaration, the Central Real Estate Committee (ZIA).
Berlin’s governing mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) criticized the decision of the two alliance participants. “Just because you don’t get everything to say, then we don’t take part, I find that difficult,” she told the German Press Agency on Monday.
“The tenants’ association and the ZIA are two poles that are as far apart as possible. If both aren’t willing to go along with that, then that’s a sign that we’re already a bit in the middle with what we agreed on,” said Giffey. “And we have many others who are involved.” The fact that the real estate company Vonovia has signaled that it will take part is also a good sign.
“In the end, it comes down to the question: what helps the tenants?” said the SPD politician. “And to say that’s not enough for us, we’re out then, doesn’t help them.” The measures of the alliance agreement could take away many people’s worries and fears. “Those who sign represent about half of Berlin’s apartments,” Giffey said. “And that’s why it’s still a success. And it’s a first signing today. Anyone who wants to take part can still come along.”
The ZIA justified its decision with the concessions made by the industry to tenant representatives, although these had already been severely weakened. The Berlin Tenants’ Association had previously declared that it would not sign the agreements from the Alliance for New Housing and Affordable Housing this Monday.
The managing director of the association, Reiner Wild, explained in a press release that at the end of months of negotiations, it “had to be established that what the tenants in Berlin saw was not enough for them to sign an agreement, for the few advantages of which the tenants’ association would then but would also be held accountable”.
Politicians were too accommodating to the housing industry in the alliance. In addition, the agreement is “very non-binding”. “The Berlin state government is lagging behind its coalition agreement in various areas with the alliance agreement,” Wild continued.
No agreements had been made “that are enforceable or binding for the individual tenants”.
Background: At the beginning of the negotiations, even urban development senator Andreas Geisel (SPD) considered it possible for the housing industry to refrain from raising rents for a certain period of time.
Of this, only a limitation of rent increases for households with low income and entitlement to a housing entitlement certificate remained if the increase caused the housing costs to exceed 30 percent of the income.
The Berlin Alliance for New Housing and Affordable Housing will present the results of the negotiations on Monday afternoon in the Rotes Rathaus.
The aim of the agreed measures is to significantly accelerate housing construction in the capital in view of the housing shortage and to slow down further rent increases. The participants in the alliance round include representatives from politics, the housing industry and associations. The negotiations lasted several months.
The umbrella organization of the real estate industry ZIA justifies its rejection of the housing alliance with the regulation that Berlin’s Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) described as the most important achievement for tenants: the limitation of rent increases to 30 percent of disposable income.
The industry had already negotiated away this general regulation and only limited it to households with low incomes and a claim to a residence entitlement certificate.
“The upper limit of 30 percent of the household income for rent is unrealistic anyway,” said ZIA general manager Oliver Wittke. The association had offered to sign the declaration on the alliance – with the reservation of “three serious objections” in a protocol declaration. The Senate rejected this.
The industry also rejects the obligation for landlords to allocate 30 percent of the apartments to households entitled to a housing entitlement certificate (WBS) when they are re-let. Tenants can use this to move into social housing.
In the real estate industry, the condition of Berlin’s cooperative building land development, which provides for every second newly built apartment to be awarded to households with low or medium incomes, also failed.
The state association of the private housing association BFW will join the alliance.
“The increase in personnel in the authorities, the digitization and acceleration of planning and approval procedures are important first building blocks. The Senate and districts have agreed to put the previously stagnant processes in the new building together with the alliance partners to the test and improve them in a working group “Said the BFW chairman in Berlin, Christopher Weiß. Achieving these goals is “in the hands of the State of Berlin”.
From the point of view of the “Deutsche Wohnen
“Instead of standing up for the tenants of this city, the Governing Mayor behaves like a management consultant for the real estate groups that are bleeding our city dry.” The only sustainable solution that guarantees affordable rents is the expropriation of the large housing groups.
The initiative “Deutsche Wohnen
At the party congress, there was a majority for a motion calling for a law to be drawn up as soon as possible after a positive vote by the expert commission set up by the Senate to implement the socialization of large housing companies.
The SPD members who voted in favor of the motion called on the initiative to keep up the pressure on the party leadership.