Cansel Kiziltepe is a member of the SPD Bundestag, Kevin Kühnert is deputy SPD party chairman and responsible for the board of directors for real estate, construction and housing
Too many people can no longer afford to live in their neighborhood. Let alone move to a suitable apartment if necessary – for offspring, for example. The fear of not being able to live in your own neighborhood is very real and unfortunately justified. In addition to the fact that hardly any new apartments are being built for too long, this is mainly due to two revenue models.
First of all with modernisations, with the main aim of realizing a permanent massive rent increase. And not the improvement of the energy balance that we urgently need. We have already been able to pull some teeth out of this business model by tightening the rent brake, fines for modernization and rent coverage. All measures that we as SPD have largely implemented.
The second relocation model is still perfectly legal: converting apartment buildings into apartment buildings. In reality, what the real estate industry sells as a real estate dream often means the imminent loss of their own apartment for many tenants.
Few can afford the Martian prices these apartments are offered for. Instead, they have to deal with real estate specialists who try to get them out of the apartments and then sell them for an even higher price or prepare for the new owners’ own needs.
Stricter conversion rules were agreed in 2018
This problem has been known for years and has worsened rather than eased. Berlin has become the mecca for decommissioning. Because the phenomenon is spreading across Germany, stricter conversion rules have been agreed in the grand coalition at the insistence of the SPD at the 2018 housing summit.
Since then, we have been waiting for the reform of the building code, which will finally give the neighborhoods and municipalities the tools to counteract this madness.
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But CDU MP Jan-Marco Luczak from Tempelhof-Schöneberg and chairman of the Berlin CDU regional group has fought against it with hands and feet. Now he celebrates his “success”: the building law reform has gone into departmental coordination without new transposition rules.
He continues his policy, which he also shows as one of the biggest opponents of the rent cap. There is no clearer way to point the finger at tenants, certainly not with low and middle incomes.
A tougher transformation law would also address other problems in the housing market: Far too much money from investors is flowing into the apartment trade rather than new buildings. The added value of business models that simply buy apartment buildings, divide them and then sell them in slices, is negative.
Stricter conversion rules would increasingly shift investments to the new-build sector and thus ultimately contribute to more apartments.
There is no support for hire purchase or cooperatives
Berlin CDU member Jan-Marco Luczak justifies his position by saying that he wants to promote home ownership. Unfortunately, he forgets that in tense housing markets, this is increasingly only a realistic option for people with high incomes.
Models targeting people with low and middle incomes are ignored by him, despite lip service: neither the hire-purchase program requested by the SPD faction, nor common ownership forms such as cooperatives are supported. The fixation on traditional residential real estate comes at the expense of the many tenants.
Even in times of Corona, the housing crisis is not over yet. The price explosion that took place despite the global economic crisis shows this clearly.
There is therefore no reason to fall behind on the resolutions of the Housing Summit 2018. This also means that the fragmentation of our neighborhood must end at the expense of tenants.