What happens when an entire city of 3.5 million residents stops paying rent increases for the next five years? Welcome to Rent Freeze, a podcast about Berlin’s rental revolution.
Berlin is about to introduce the Mietendeckel, a law that will freeze rents for five years, cap new rental contracts at a maximum price, and allow some tenants to claim a rent reduction. Supporters say it will be the best thing to happen to the city since the fall of the Wall.
But investors and landlords are outraged. They say the reforms will scare off businesses, leave houses unbuilt and in disrepair, and feed a grey market for off-the-books rental as desperate Berliners try to find a flat.
On this episode we talk to Daniel Halmer of Wenigermiete.de about why the existing rent controls haven't worked.
Rent Freeze is produced by Joel Dullroy, Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik and Daniel Stern. Rent Freeze is a production of Radio Spaetkauf and radioeins. More at www.radiospaetkauf.com
#49 Why the Berliner Crossed the Road
Berlin police have registered 74 accidents involving e-scooters since June. Almost all of the riders were drunk. There are now 9000 e-scooters in the city.
Berlin has installed its 100th free public drinking fountain. Another 100 will be added over the next year - for 3.7 million residents.
Crossing the road will become more leisurely as the city plans to increase the 'green light' phase by up to 50%. But it will take 10 years to adjust all the traffic signals.
Another big Berlin building project is running over budget: the Museum der Moderne. The price tag has gone up from €200M to €450M - and construction hasn't even started yet.
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This episode was presented by Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern, and brought to you by radioeins.
#48 No Rent for Royalty
Berlin now has 750 millionaire residents - twice as many as in 2016, according to the Finanzamt. The majority live in the city's west. More live in Kreuzberg than Prenzlauer Berg. Strangely, the Finanzamt defines a millionaire as someone with over €500,000 in income and assets - a hang-over from the Deutschmark days, as DMs are worth half as much as Euros.
The former German royal family wants its castles back. The remaining Hohenzollerns are relatives of the Nazi-supporting Kaiser Wilhelm II, who abdicated in 1918. His descendants are trying to claim compensation from the states of Berlin and Brandenburg, including artworks from museums, and Schloss Cecilienhof in Potsdam, where they want to live rent-free.
Berlin has introduced a rent freeze. All rents will be capped at their current level for five years, backdated to mid June. Landlords who breach the cap face huge fines. The city is now also talking about introducing rent controls for commercial properties to protect shopkeepers.
Electric scooters have been here only a few weeks, and already we’ve had at least 20 registered accidents. One man lost a few teeth in a crash. A woman was stopped in a park in Prenzlauer Berg rolling along with her dog on a lead. Several have been caught extremely drunk. Drivers are not allowed on the sidewalk, can't take passengers, and can't leave the scooter blocking a footpath. The public transport network has declared that you need to buy a bicycle ticket if you bring an e-scooter on to a bus or train. They've been banned from Tempelhofer Feld.
Join us for our next live recording! It takes place on stage at the Lakeside Film Festival, a weekend of outdoor movies and music by a lake in the woods. Find out more at www.lakesidefilmfestival.com
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#47 Seize that Pad Thai
Berlin now has two top level football teams after FC Union jumped up to the Bundesliga by winning a play-off match. FC Union started back in the DDR. Their die-hard fans actually helped rebuild the stadium in Köpenick with their own hands. Maybe they could help finish BER? Enjoying the heat? Spare a thought for horses pulling tourist carriages in the city center. New rules now apply - carriage operators have to stop if air temperature in the shade reaches 30 degrees Celsius. There’s been another attempt to crack down on the food sellers in Thai Park. Police and Ordnungsamt officers raided the park on a recent Saturday. But a district official revealed it was all for show. Arne Herz from the CDU said: “We don’t want to ruin the market, we just want to show the residents that we’re doing something.” Get ready for a rent increase letter. Berlin’s landlords association has advised its members to try to increase rents by as much as possible before June 17. That’s because the city government is working on a new law that would freeze everybody’s rent for the next five years. Landlords are terrified, and are racing to squeeze out one last rent rise first. Residents are being advised not to agree to any rent increase without consulting a renter’s association first.
#46 Swap your apartments for an airport?
New f#€k ups have been discovered at Berlin Brandenburg Airport. Builders used plastic Dübel, or wall anchors, to screw the fire safety system in place. Plastic anchors can melt and shouldn't have been used. The planned opening date of October 2020 is again in doubt. Hear more about BER on our spin-off series: www.radiospaetkauf.com/ber. The campaign to trigger a referendum on property ownership in Berlin only began a few weeks ago. Organizers say they have already collected almost enough signatures to go to the next round. The campaign - Deutsche Wohnen & Co Enteignen - aims to forcibly seize apartments from private companies that own thousands of properties.
Public transport workers have won a pay rise after holding two major strikes. The BVG has reached agreement with unions representing U-Bahn, bus and tram drivers. That means there will be no further strikes.
Several of Berlin’s outdoor pools are already open. From today, you can go for a swim at Strandbad Wannsee, Sommerbad Kreuzberg, and Sommerbad Wilmersdorf.
Come along to our next live recording on Sunday April 28 at Comedy Cafe Berlin. Did you know you can download all of our live recordings as podcasts? Simply follow our other podcast channel as well: https://apple.co/2vd5hdy
This podcast was presented by Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern, and brought to you by radioeins.