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Germany acts against rent rises(14 Posts)
Anyone else interested in this? Anyone in Germany who knows background?
I'm interested in it from two angles: firstly that rents are lower over there than in Britain anyway. Secondly, probably most importantly, that people complain about rising rents: and their local government comes up with proposals to help them, which are backed by the national government. That is what government should be there to do. What has the UK ever done to help its people in the face of its immeasurably greater housing crisis?
We used to have regulated tenancies and these were subject to fair rent checks by the rents officer. Introduced by Labour in the 1970s and scrapped by the Tories in 1989, although you can still apply for a determination if your tenancy predates the change.
Was that an answer to the question of what has the UK ever done? In which case I deserved it ! Those were scrapped as you say, and ever since Britain's attitude has been that those with higher social status and higher wealth have the absolute right to abuse the rest of us. The housing crisis has only recently been seriously acknowledged, because it's hitting the middle classes finally. It's been affecting those of us lower down since house prices first doubled back in the late 90's.
The local housing allowances are a fucking travesty and in NO WAY reflect local rates. They’ve been frozen for years whilst rents climbed and climbed.
Austerity my arse
Our LHA works out at £719 a month for a 3 bed house.
You couldn’t get a 2 bed flat on the sink estate for that.
This is only in Berlin. The idea is to cap rent increases for a five year period. The legalities are being challenged in the courts.
Like UK cities, Berlin has seen a massive increase in population and has failed to keep up with demand for housing. A rent freeze will not solve that problem.
I liked the fact that they are trying to act though. It shows up the democratic deficit in Britain.
It will be interesting to watch the results of legal battles. Law makers everywhere need to be aware now that if they continue to make laws supporting the rights of the rich over the poor, it will become increasingly obvious that the poor have nothing to gain by supporting law. That has been the situation in Britain for some time.
It is not good enough to simply say "a rent freeze will not solve the problem". As aheartybowlofJan points out, it isn't simply that the government is doing nothing to help because "there is nothing they can do": they are actively working against the poorer classes in fact, by restricting all other measures designed to help. Inaction is no longer possible in the face of the pressures we live with. These are the pressures that have led us to Brexit. Either we get substantially more building, or rent controls, or action against the increasing population.
DarkatEndOfTunnel - there is no democratic deficit - form a renters party, get voted in and create laws you like. You also need to hope we are out of the European Courts jurisdiction.
You might want to find out a few things about starting up political parties. You might want to find out a few things about even becoming an MP in an existing one. Local government has been absolutely smashed in the last 4 decades, all there is is Westminster.
Dark, there are thousands of regulated tenancies still today. You can search by your postcode and see the small level of rents of those homes.
There was also no property to rent when I came to London in about 1983 as landlords had properties at £10 a year for life with tenancy to be inherited so obviously no one let property out and coucnil hosuing had 30 year waiting lists. People slept on friend's floors or stayed with famly. We started our married life in a school provided flat (as teachers could not get rented housing nor buy as London prices were so high) and I slpt on a mattres on the floor. Rent controls do not work.
In London market rents due to market forces are dropping currently.
When I was 20, my grandmother and aunt had inherited some houses from a relative who built them to let out.
With the regulated tenancies that operated as Xenia describes above, they were responsible for all the repairs and renovations, but because the properties were let at £10 per year, with inheritance rights, there was no income to pay for the repairs. They were two elderly widows who had no other income. You probably subscribe to the mantra of "all landlords are evil exploiters" but they worried themselves sick about the bills that would arrive, that they couldn't afford, but the houses were effectively worthless. It was a celebration every time one was sold because their liabilities were reduced. Regulated tenancy was a double-edged sword that strangled the housing supply.
But surely there’s a sane middle ground between these two extremes? The high cost of renting is haves serious impact on the physical and mental health of families due to half the household budget going on rent alone.
In the 1990s I, and many of my friends, rented and worked in low paid jobs and I don’t remember any of us having the financial worries that renters have now.
I think there is one big difference here that is important and the is in the culture of renting between the UK and Germany. In Germany it is totally normal (and nobody feels bad/strange/judged for it) to rent your home for your whole life, especially in cities. There is not the pressure to be a homeowner as there is in the UK. Therefore there is much more pressure on landlords to be fair (there are plenty of bad apples out there too of course!)
There is a lot of housing provided by housing associations which are, generally, private organizations but run to strict rules re rent per sqm, they are offered only to people on lower incomes etc.
There have always been regulations on how much rent can be increased by annually or at the start of a new contract and these are in line with inflation and very fair. Landlords are only allowed to increase the rent in Frankfurt by 10% over the regulated amount if they have carried out extensive renovation works (usually total overhaul of electrics, new bathrooms, adding balconies etc) so there is an added value for the tenant. I can only speak for the city I know well (I am in Frankfurt) and things are slowly changing here and you see how gentrification is starting in some areas. There is huge demand for housing here and many many new apartments buildings are going up, mainly higher end properties but these have to be offset with affordable housing. Oh and just as an aside, they always have to make provision for green spaces, childcare facilities etc as well. Usually things are well planned!