Berlin Becomes First German City With A Rent Cap

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Between 2013 and 2014, the average cost of a home in Berlin rose nine percent—and now, to prevent rents from reaching unrealistic heights, the capital has become the first German city to cap potential rent costs.

Since yesterday, landlords are now forbidden to raise rents more than 10 percent above local averages. This cap has already been applied to existing tenants. 

"We don’t want a situation like in London or Paris," said Reiner Wild, the managing director of the Berlin Tenants’ Association. "The reality in Paris or London is that people with low income have to live in the further-out districts of the city."

Wild also wants to take this initiative further and build more affordable housing. The national parliament approved this measure in March, intending it for areas with housing shortages, and Berlin is the first city to enact it.

The current housing market in Berlin is becoming increasingly competitive and many are being priced out of the city. Lower income families cannot compete with more financially stable house-hunters.

The Guardian mentions Lance Anderson, a translator, who came to Berlin in 1998. "I used to be able to pay my rent for the whole month just by working one shift as a waiter," he said, referring to rent in 2003. He also mentioned that rent was so affordable that a neighbor rented an entire apartment just for his dogs.

"All my friends who have been in the city a long time have old leases—we know we cannot afford to move," Anderson said.