Berlin referendum votes to nationalise housing owned by corporate landlords

Brendan Burgess

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It proposed to move the portfolios of all corporate landlords with more than 3,000 homes in Berlin into public ownership. This would effectively nationalise 240,000 homes, or 11 per cent of the city’s housing stock for ‘a fair price’ (read: to be negotiated). When the final tallies were counted on Monday morning, voters had backed the measure by 59.1 per cent to 40 per cent - an historic victory for a style of grass-roots democratic activism rarely seen in Germany.
 

Purple

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Bloody hell. I presume the units will be bought at market rates. That'll cost a few bob.
 

Leper

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Bring it on here . . . . I don't know how . . . I don't know when . . . . but bring it on asap! (But, it ain't gonna happen).
 

Bolter

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I don't think it's healthy for the rental market if a fund can own over 3000 properties. In Ireland landlords who own less than 3 properties form the vast majority of rental stock.
Many pay tax on rental income at the higher rate.
It's healthier for competition if rental stock is owned by many small landlords.
It benefits the tenant as there is less opportunity for price fixing.
Huge funds owning thousands of properties should be discouraged in Ireland.
Small landlords owning a few benefits tenants.
 

noproblem

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If that happened in Ireland, I wonder what percentage of the rent would be paid by the new tenants? The Goverment are creating laws that encourage social housing tenants not to pay rent. They have nowhere else to go, they know they will get housed, they don't give a damn. It's a bit like, "Sue me, I ain't got nothing".
 

RetirementPlan

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Tenants would almost be mad to pay rent when there is no downside. DCC alone had €33M arrears at the start of last year. They did everything they could to pawn social housing off on private landlords, they don't want that headache back.
Is 'no downside' entirely fair? DCC do have an arrears process, culminating in eviction.
Just for context, the business rates arrears for 2020 was €34.1M.
 

noproblem

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DCC has no record of evicting anyone for non-payment of rent.

They have got a handful of court orders, but have never enforced them.

There is no downside to not paying your local authority rent.

Brendan
Exactly. Wouldn't I love to see that being discussed on the wonderful Talk to Jo satire, and the whole non responsible tenant scenario. I'll be waiting, me thinks.
 

NoRegretsCoyote

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They have got a handful of court orders, but have never enforced them.

There is no downside to not paying your local authority rent.
Well they'd only be back in DCC emergency accommodation at about ten times the cost :)

I don't think the numbers are as bad as they seem. Arrears are about €1,200 per tenancy. The majority of tenants have arrears of course, but only for a few hundred euros each.

It's almost like a free overdraft.
 

RetirementPlan

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DCC has no record of evicting anyone for non-payment of rent.

They have got a handful of court orders, but have never enforced them.

There is no downside to not paying your local authority rent.

Brendan
The Journal article linked above indicates that they have evicted.

Should they be evicting all the businesses who make up the €34M of rate arrears too?
 

Brendan Burgess

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Should they be evicting all the businesses who make up the €34M of rate arrears too?

No. They are not the landlords and they don't own the property, so they can't evict them.

But they can and do get judgements against the companies. I presume that they hand them over to the sheriff who is empowered to seize goods.

Brendan
 

Brendan Burgess

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Housing activists in Ireland are now looking at this.


The referendum has caught the attention of housing activists in Ireland. But could it ever happen here?

In the latest episode of the In The News podcast, we talk to Berlin correspondent Derek Scally, activist Jenny Stupka, Hilary Hogan, a phd researcher in constitutional law at European University in Florence, and Eoin Burke Kennedy, The Irish Times economics reporter.
 

Mocame

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This referendum result will never be implemented in practice because it will be appealed to Germany's supreme court and be found unconstitutional. In any case the costs of implementing it means it is not a goer.

It is the result of understandable frustration on the part of German citizens with their housing policy however. After World War II Germany introduced 40 year subsidies for social housing. A lot of this housing was provided by the private sector and after the subsidy period end it reverted to market housing and rents have risen rapidly. Other social housing was provided by local government but a significant proportion of his was sold off to private investors when local authorities were in financial difficulty in recent decades - often at knock down prices.

It would be deeply ironic if the German taxpayer ended up being forced to buy back this housing at full market value as a result of this referendum. It is something you would expect to happen in Ireland!
 
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