Saturday, April 17, 2021

On Thursday, Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court ruled a five-year rent freeze introduced earlier in February last year illegal due to lack of the Berlin Senate’s jurisdiction. This decision allowed rent to be increased as the Court ruling invalidated the previously introduced law which had capped the rent for about 90% of renters in the country. Protesters gathered in the capital city of Berlin with demonstrations against the ruling and against the possible increases in rent. Some demanded dispossessions of large real estate companies.

Protesters gathered in Berlin’s Neukölln and Kreuzberg districts, and reportedly thousands of people participated. The crowd reportedly walked from Hermannplatz towards Kottbusser Tor and then to Oranienplatz. Police closed several streets for the day. Organizers said 25 thousand people reportedly joined the protest, The Berlin Spectator reported.

Protesters marched with posters such as “You can have our hatred, You do not get our rent. (Housing is not a commodity.)” ((de))German language: ?unseren hass den konnt ihr haben, unsere miete bekomm ihr nicht (wohnenist keine ware) and “The rich should pay! (Social struggles connects [us].)” ((de))German language: ?die reichen sollen zahlen (soziale kämpfe verbinden). Some protesters brought lids of boiling of frying pans and made noise. The German word for lid is same as the one for rent cap. They reportedly chanted slogan “If you take a cover from us, we’ll come back with thousands.”.

The Social Democratic Greens and Left parties’ coalition previously introduced the rent cap through the country’s Senate in February last year, citing raising rent prices in the country. Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union alliance and the Free Democratic party had filed the appeal leading to the present ruling.

The overturned ruling by Berlin State Government had previously fixed the rent from February 2020 to February 2025 on its June 2019 level. A senator who was in charge of urban development, Sebastian Scheel, commented about his disappointment, and said either the federal government or any of the states now had an opportunity to create laws to control the rent.

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