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The Berlin Senate considers the idea of ​​a rent tax to be unworkable.

According to a response from the Senate Department for Urban Development to a parliamentary question from Left Party MP Niklas Schenker, about which the newspaper “nd.DerTag” (Tuesday) first reported.

As justification, reference is made to an elaboration by the scientific service of the Bundestag, according to which the federal states have no legislative competence for a rent tax. The Senate agrees with this legal opinion, writes the Senate administration led by Andreas Geisel (SPD).

“In addition, the concept of a progressive rental tax cannot be implemented from an administrative point of view.” This applies to the collection of all necessary residential value characteristics to determine the specific local comparative rent as well as the individual examination of around 1.67 million rental apartments in Berlin for tax liability.

In the debate about rising rents in Berlin, the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) proposed a rent tax in autumn 2021. This is an interesting alternative to the expropriation of large real estate groups, as demanded by the referendum of September 26, 2021.

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According to the proposal, net cold rents above 110 percent of the local comparative rent could be taxed at 10 to 30 percent – the higher the rent, the higher the tax rate. Berlin could use it to earn a good 200 million euros a year and invest this in rent reductions for 100,000 apartments or the construction of 7,500 new apartments. That would relax the housing market in Berlin and lower rents for everyone, argued the DIW.

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“Obviously, the Senate’s legal review was limited to reading the draft of the Bundestag’s scientific service. That’s not enough,” Schenker told the newspaper. “I don’t think the statement that the local comparative rent is a mystery that is difficult to understand and that the Senate could not get knowledge of, is incomprehensible,” added the spokesman for rents and housing for the left-wing faction when asked by the dpa.

Above all, stricter laws and regulations are needed for real tenant protection and more affordable new construction. “This will can hardly be read from the response of the Senate.” (dpa)