Housing is a human right.
Everyone must have a place to live at a reasonable price. In April one of Germany’s highest courts over turned a strict rent control measure instituted by the Berlin government. On Sunday in Berlin several thousand demonstrators took to the streets and the River Spree to vocally protest this abridgement of the right to fair housing.
High rents are a problem worldwide as the population increases, wages remain flat and landlords seek to gain more profit. The reality is that governments and courts side with the landlord class to the detriment of renters.
Governments and courts forget that renters are people. Not a disposable item to be bartered away to satisfy the landlords bank accounts.
Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 5.23.2021
Protesters voiced anger over rising rents in the German capital and a court ruling that overturned a major price control measure. However, police said the number of participants was much smaller than expected.
Some 2,500 people marched through Berlin against high rent prices in the German capital, police said on Sunday. The organizers, however, claimed “at least 10,000” people took part.
The protest took place after Germany’s constitutional court overturned Berlin’s rent cap, leaving tenants across the city suddenly facing price hikes. The constitutional court overturned the Berlin measure on April 15, ruling that the state government didn’t have a right to impose the cap.
The main rally, under the slogan “Stop the rent madness!” moved from Potsdamer Platz to the neighborhood of Schöneberg, starting one hour later than previously announced.
Protesters were seen carrying banners such as “To reside is a human right” and “No interest on rents.”
Separately, some 30 participants organized a demonstration of their own by sailing boats on Berlin’s river Spree (pictured below), and displaying the banners against the rising rents.
The rent cap was a measure implemented by the city-state’s government that went into effect in late February 2020. It froze the prices for nearly all apartments in Berlin for five years, locking them in place at their June 2019 level. New rental contracts were not allowed to exceed that rate — and some rents had to be reduced.
The Berlin state government said the measure was intended to reduce pressure on renters and buy time for more housing to be built.
The regulation also allowed for tenants to sue their landlords to reduce rents.
The measure was strongly criticized by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP), who lodged a legal complaint against it.