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Rent control to be presented at the constitutional court

The rent control violates the constitution according to the 67. Civil Chamber of the District Court Berlin. Due to this, the district court decided on the 7th December to present the rent control to the Federal Constitutional Court. This was announced on the 11th December.1

Prior to the decision were claims from two tenants in Berlin-Wedding who were taking action against, in their opinion, too high rents. The local court Wedding, where the claim was first negotiated, agreed partly with the tenants, whereupon the landlord appealed the sentence. During the appeal proceedings the district court Berlin decided to involve the Federal Constitutional Court.

Landlords are treated unequally

Judges at the district court find the rent control unconstitutional, because “landlords are treated unequally”. This unequal treatment could be determined on some levels by the judges. They point out, that nationwide rents vary significantly, as for example in Munich the typical local rent is 70 percent higher as it is in West Berlin. Therefore landlords get hit by the rent control unequally in different cities.  Moreover landlords that already demanded a rent that was above the 10 percent of the local demanded rent are unfairly favored. Those landlords are able to demand the higher rent even when new letting. While landlords, that demanded a moderate rent, are due to the rent control not able to adapt a current rent when new letting and therefore they are in disadvantage compared to the first group of landlords.

The 67. Civil Chamber of the District Court Berlin already concluded in an appeal proceeding in September 2017 that the rent control violated the constitution.2 For that decision the constitutionality of the rent control itself was not questioned. That’s why it has not been presented to the Federal Constitutional Court.

The 67. Civil Chamber of the District Court Berlin conflicts with its estimate of the rent control violating the constitution with their own colleagues from the 65. Civil Chamber. They already had to deal with the rent control in March 2017 and concluded that the rent control was in favor with the constitution.3

Rent control is an issue in Munich and Paris as well

Recently a district court in Bavaria dealt with the rent control too. The District Court Munich I declared the rent control regulation in Bavaria in December 2017 ineffective.4 But this was only due to formal errors and not because of possible infringement of the constitution.

In France rent control is also a current topic. In Paris the measure was overturned through the administrative court at the end of November.5 Justification: As the rent control is only valid in the capital and not in the greater area of Paris, it’s unjustified. The rent control in Paris came into effect on the 1st August 2015. Besides of the French capital it’s only utilized in Lille.