Bundestag expert opinion: Berlin rent freeze may be unconstitutional

01/07/2019

Several media outlets are reporting that the Berlin Senate’s planned rent freeze for the city’s apartments is likely to be unconstitutional according to an expert opinion by the scientific services of the German Parliament. The opinion is cited as stating that “civil law is already so comprehensively regulated by the federal government that there are hardly any possibilities for regulations under state law in this area”. The provisions of rent law therefore must be “fundamentally regarded as exhaustive,” as state law cannot supersede federal law. The Senate wants to draw up a law by October which will include stipulation that all apartment rents in Berlin be frozen for an initial period of five years, with some exceptions. In addition to anticipated lawsuits from the housing industry, the Free Democratic Party’s Berlin office announced that it would initiate a standards control procedure as soon as the law was passed. The expert opinion was not available by TD’s editorial deadline.


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