A rent control law passed by parliament in June aims to prevent landlords in the German capital from raising rents for new tenants to more than 10% above the local average.
The legislation was introduced to put a cap on rents in areas with housing shortages and where landlords are inevitably enjoying raking it in. Rents in Berlin have risen on average by almost 53% in the past five years, and in some districts, like the sought-after one that Scheffel lives in, by 79%.
“The rent control is really important for Berlin because the difference between the rent paid between existing contracts and new contracts is so vast,” said Reiner Wild, the managing director of Berlin’s Tenants’ Association. He also points out that the city’s population is growing fast, increasing demand on the housing market.
Rents remain low in Berlin compared with other capitals such as London or Rome, but supporters of the law say it is nevertheless vital to ensure the city remains affordable for lower-income residents. Gentrification in parts of inner-city Berlin has pushed many long-term residents to the edge of the city and also spoiled some of the characteristics that make Berlin so popular.