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The current status of the Berlin rent freeze
The law on rent freeze in the housing sector in Berlin (MietenWoG Bln) is colloquially called "Mietendeckel". It came into force on 23 February 2020 and consists of three key points:
There have been several rulings on the law in recent months, but these have not affected the validity of MietenWoG Bln. Nevertheless, the rent freeze is not stable as there is an ongoing procedure at the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG): In 2021 it will be decided whether the law is at all in conformity with the constitution.
Caution: Why the rent freeze in Berlin is still uncertain
Since March 2020, rents in Berlin have been regulated by the rent cap and rent freeze. The reduction of existing rents as part of the rent reduction would also accommodate many tenants with longer existing rental contracts. It was to be expected that landlords and the opposition would take legal action against this. The wave of lawsuits has so far had various results against, but also in favour of the rent freeze.
Due to the pending decision of the Federal Constitutional Court , there is still a chance that the law on the Berlin rent freeze is not constitutional. Many experts expect the court to rule in favour of the landlords in 2021 and the law to be overturned. In this case, landlords will be able to claim back from tenants the rental income lost through the rent freeze from November 2020.
Since the rent freeze came into force, many landlords have included the so-called shadow rent in their new rental agreements as a precautionary measure. In such contracts, flat seekers must agree to two rent levels: a rent in conformity with the rent freeze and another higher rent in case the law is overturned. Despite the validity of the rent freeze, tenants are threatened with rent increases. The rent freeze has therefore already had negative effects.
You are rightly insecure and do not know exactly what to do now. We help you and explain the next steps depending on your individual situation.
Your landlord reduces the rent: You as a tenant will pay less rent from 23 November 2020 through the rent freeze. Do not include the amount saved in your daily expenses. Put back the money you save every month and wait for the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court. If you have to pay the landlord back the amount, you will not be financially surprised.
Your landlord will not lower the rent, although he should: According to the rent freeze, you are entitled to a reduction of the rent from 23 November 2020. You now have two options:
Your landlord does not have to reduce the rent: Your rent is legal within the rent freeze and your landlord is therefore not obliged to reduce it. There is nothing else for you to do. You can check whether you are entitled to a reduction of your rent by means of the rent cap with our free rent index calculator.
Rent freeze or rent control? How to successfully reduce your rent
The rent control applies almost all over Germany and is recognised by the highest court, while the rent freeze is still under scrutiny. Before tenants enforce the rent freeze with their landlord, it is therefore worth considering the rent control.
Overpaid rent can be reclaimed for up to two and a half years under the rent control.
The savings potential depends on various factors, which makes it impossible to make a general statement. The calculation depends on the furnishings of your individual flat, its age and location. Here is a calculation example for an old building flat typical for Berlin in a simple residential area, built until 1918 with collective heating and with a bathroom:
Upper limit according to rent freeze: For a flat in Sonnenallee (Neukölln) in a building built before 1918, the upper limit is 7.40 euros per square metre.
Upper limit after rent control: According to Berlin's rent index, a rental agreement signed in March 2017 in a simple residential area in Sonnenallee (Neukölln) is subject to a range of between 4.22 euros per square metre and 8.41 euros per square metre, with an average of 5.72 euros. To this must be added 10 per cent, which is permitted under the rent control. This means that the average upper limit after the rent control is 6.29 euros per square metre.
In this case the tenant even saves more per month with the rent control. The amount of the savings can vary from case to case for the rent freeze and the rent control, so the reverse is also possible.
The fact is that your savings potential as a tenant is already legally secure with the rent control. CONNY has been able to advocate fair rents in thousands of cases and will help you too.