In the debate about a possible sale of state-owned apartments to their tenants, the SPD, Greens and Left Party do not come to a common denominator. After Urban Development Senator Andreas Geisel (SPD) had described a corresponding proposal from the ranks of state-owned housing construction companies as conceivable, the two housing policy experts from the Greens and Left, Katrin Schmidberger and Niklas Schenker, now decisively rejected the proposal.
“The proposal is neither up-to-date nor creative and it will lead to a dead end in housing policy,” said Schmidberger on Thursday in the House of Representatives. Since around half of Berlin’s tenants are entitled to a residence entitlement certificate, the proposal does not reflect reality, she said, referring to the real estate prices that have risen significantly in recent years.
“The war and the raw material crisis show how valuable the public stock in Berlin is,” said Schmidberger, speaking of a “dangerous wrong path”. Instead of selling state-owned apartments, rent regulation and a “yield cap” should be considered, she demanded.
Schenker even described the privatization of municipal housing in the 1990s as “the mother of all problems on the housing market” and called for a “ban on the privatization of municipal housing”.
Sevim Aydin, spokeswoman for housing and rents in the SPD faction, was much more reserved. “I believe that the state’s own should concentrate on their task,” she said and announced that she wanted to expand the public housing stock through new construction and also purchase.
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The reason for the debate was a motion by the AfD parliamentary group. She took up the demand for the privatization of state-owned apartments for existing tenants and justified this by wanting to secure the pensions of tenants. Speakers from the CDU and FDP signaled approval of the content, but refused to support the motion.
The debate was triggered by a statement by Gesobau Managing Director Jörg Franzen. In view of the rising costs of the planned Schumacher quarter in Tegel, he had suggested that the municipal housing companies increase their income by selling condominiums. In this way, the rents in the other new apartments should be kept affordable – Senator Geisel signaled approval.