Berlin’s governing mayor Franziska Giffey defended her rent plan against nationwide criticism on Tuesday. “Various measures are being negotiated in our alliance for new residential construction and affordable housing. These intertwine, you cannot see them in isolation,” said the SPD politician at the Senate press conference.
Giffey wants to ensure that, in addition to the load limit of a maximum of 30 percent of net income, a certain proportion of apartments are also available for poorer people with a housing entitlement certificate (WBS). The amount of the share is currently being negotiated, she recently said in an interview with the Tagesspiegel.
Giffey pointed out on Tuesday that the state-owned housing companies with a total of 400,000 apartments in the city would apply a similar regulation to the one she had already proposed.
“Our alliance includes representatives from 1.1 million homes. We want to conclude such an agreement with all of them,” Giffey explained her political goal. This would mean that a large part of the Berlin housing market would be covered by the load limit she proposed.
Berlin’s Greens reacted for the first time on Tuesday to the initiative by the Social Democratic head of government. Previously, there had been rejection from the Left Party, FDP and CDU. Berlin’s Mayor and Transport Senator Bettina Jarasch (Greens), on the other hand, signaled a willingness to talk.
Jarasch told the Tagesspiegel: “If rent increases are linked to income, binding agreements are needed so that people with low and middle incomes can still find an apartment.” Even today, people with low incomes are at a disadvantage when looking for an apartment.
Jarasch appealed to the housing companies to take their responsibilities seriously: “The rising prices are not only affecting new construction. Inflation hits tenants at least as hard, if not harder.”
On June 20, the members of the housing alliance want to present a final declaration and goals for tenant protection and new construction. Jarasch said that the Senate had “set out to make Berlin affordable” with the alliance. The planned declaration of alliance is only “the beginning and not the end of this process”.
Giffey’s advance had caused a stir nationwide. Giffey explained in a Tagesspiegel interview last weekend: “Nobody should pay more than 30 percent of their income for rent”.
The Left Party sharply criticized the proposal. Berlin’s mayor and culture senator Klaus Lederer (left) described it as unrealistic – it was not practicable to check tens of thousands of tenancies. The CDU and FDP suspect a “new bureaucracy monster” behind the proposal.
Giffey recently made it clear that she is concerned with a voluntary commitment by companies in the housing alliance and not with a new law. Building Senator Andreas Geisel confirmed this in an interview with the Tagesspiegel. Real estate companies were basically open to the SPD’s initiative.