For the referendum on “Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen & Co” in Berlin, a majority of yes emerges once the counting has started.
Berlin (dpa) – Berliners have voted in favor of the expropriation of large housing estates with more than 3,000 apartments. 56.4 percent of voters voted for it in a referendum, 39.0 percent rejected the project, as the state’s election leadership announced Monday morning.
However, the vote titled “Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen & Co” is not legally binding on politicians. With the success of the referendum, the Berlin Senate is called, according to the resolution, to “take all the measures” necessary for the transfer of real estate into common property, and to draft a law to this effect.
Around 240,000 apartments affected
Concretely, the project, so far unique in Germany, involves companies with more than 3,000 apartments in Berlin, insofar as they pursue an “intention to make a profit”. These must be socialized, that is to say expropriated against compensation and transferred to an institution governed by public law. Around 240,000 apartments would be affected, or around 15% of Berlin’s rental housing stock.
The rise in rents should be stopped
The initiative “Deutsche Wohnen & Co expropriate”, initiator of the referendum, believes that it can stop the rise in rents and secure affordable rents over the long term thanks to the socialization of apartments. Whether the Berlin Senate will now draft such a law is open and depends on the political makeup of the new state government. The SPD, the CDU, the AfD and the FDP are – like the economy – against expropriations. The left is in favor, without ifs or buts, the Greens consider that such an approach “as a last resort” is possible.
According to Senate forecasts, compensation costs would amount to 29 to 36 billion euros. The expropriation initiative, on the other hand, expects 7.3 to 13.7 billion euros. She does not want to compensate the real estate company with money, but with bonds, which are then repaid over 40 years from the rental income. In any case, such a project should end up before the Federal Constitutional Court. Berlin last failed in April with the rent cap, that is, the rent caps imposed by the state.