“Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen and Co.” Defeat for the market economy: the majority of Berliners want to expropriate landlords

“Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen and Co.” Defeat for the market economy: the majority of Berliners want to expropriate landlords

“Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen and Co.” Defeat for the market economy: the majority of Berliners want to expropriate landlords

The Berliners want to dare to experiment with socialism. The majority of the capital’s residents voted in a referendum on Sunday that private housing companies should be expropriated. 56.4 percent of those eligible to vote sided with the movement “expropriate Deutsche Wohnen und Co.”. With this step she wants to fight against rising rents.

With its campaign, the citizens’ initiative mobilized the residents of the capital to take a radical step. Such a referendum is unique in the history of the Federal Republic. Housing groups with more than 3000 existing apartments in. That would radically change the Berlin housing market. More than 200,000 of the total of 1.5 million apartments could be transferred to an institution under public law. The goal: These should be managed with a focus on the common good, and rental price increases should be stopped. Most of all it is affected. 113,000 of the Dax Group’s 155,000 apartments are in Berlin.

The initiative “Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen & Co.” now wants to increase the pressure on the Senate. “We will monitor the coalition negotiations very closely and keep the pressure on the parties high. We will not allow one party to pull itself out of the affair, ”said Rouzbeh Taheri, co-founder and spokesman for the initiative. Taheri demands that the new Senate pass a corresponding law on socialization. “We have already drawn up draft laws on socialization, which we are happy to make available to the new Senate and which can be used as a basis for discussion,” said Taheri.

For the real estate industry, the result of the referendum is meanwhile a hard blow. The real estate company Akelius has already announced that it will sell its entire Berlin portfolio. The approximately 14,000 apartments are being bought by a Swedish company that is unaffected by the referendum.

Vonovia boss Rolf Buch emphasizes that expropriations cannot solve the challenges on the Berlin housing market. He also announces that he is ready to talk: “In the new legislative period we need significantly more togetherness than confrontation. Vonovia is ready to take on the challenges on the Berlin housing market with a new state government and the relevant social actors in the city. “

Senate does not have to approve the vote

The industry does not want to give up, however. Even in the run-up to the vote, it was clear that if the result was positive, there was a risk of legal disputes lasting for years. Michael Schick, President of the real estate association IVD, told WirtschaftsWoche: “For reasons of proportionality and the principle of equality, an expropriation law cannot be made constitutional.”

The Basic Law regulates that societies in the sense of the common good are in principle possible. In Article 15 stands: “Land, natural resources and means of production can for the purpose of socialization by a law that regulates the type and extent of compensation, in common property or in other forms of public economy.” Many lawyers doubt whether the situation on legitimize expropriations on the housing market. Ultimately, this could also be countered by building new apartments.

In addition: Although a majority of Berliners are in favor of the expropriation of the housing groups, it does not necessarily have to come to that. The Berlin Senate is not obliged to accept the vote. In principle, the result of the referendum is just a kind of mood barometer that Berlin politics can use as a guide.

Whether the Senate really works out a corresponding law depends above all on Berlin’s new government. The residents of the capital not only voted on the expropriation and the general election on Sunday, but also voted for a new House of Representatives.

The previous Berlin Senate was not in agreement on the question of whether housing groups should be expropriated. Within the coalition of the Greens and the Left, and partly within the individual parties, there were different views on this. Franziska Giffey is the top candidate and has said several times that there will be no expropriation with her. Berlin’s governing mayor, Michael Müller, also rejects this step.

Anyway, critics of the expropriation initiative complain that the. Worna Zohari, CEO of the real estate manager Reanovo, says: “If the city wants to limit or even lower the rents for apartments, it will result in cross-financing. Because the costs for administration and maintenance are increasing inexorably. Just finding and keeping the necessary staff is a huge challenge. “

Berlin is not a role model

If politicians follow the vote of the citizens and a legal decision is made in favor of the supporters, it will be expensive for Berlin: The companies would have to be compensated for the surrender of their housing stock. So far, there is still a dispute about how high the costs are. IVD President Schick says: “The expropriation plans would devour up to 40 billion euros in compensation figures, which would further increase the already high mountain of debt.”

The initiative “expropriate Deutsche Wohnen und Co.” assumes lower costs – also because it wants to compensate companies “well below market value”. She puts the costs at 10 to 11 billion euros.

For real estate representatives Schick, given the high costs, it is clear: “Rather, a new Berlin state government should take care of the actual solution to the problems and stimulate residential construction.” . And that is urgently needed in a metropolis like Berlin.

At least one thing is clear to Matthias Kentner, attorney at the Munich law firm Dornbach: The vote in Berlin is not a role model for other cities, expropriation fantasies would remain a capital city phenomenon. “Berlin is a special case in the Federal Republic. The expropriation debate there finds no overall social acceptance. “

Even if the Berlin Senate does not follow the vote of the citizens and decides against expropriating housing groups, the citizens’ initiative has achieved success. Housing became one of the most important issues in the federal election campaign. And real estate giants like and – the enemy of the expropriation initiators – did something to suit their will. Last week .

The Berliners voted on the socialization of real estate companies. But . A comment.