Under a new plan, low-income tenants of public housing will pay less than a third of their income in rent
Beginning January 1, many Berlin housing project residents can expect a cut in their rent. The cost of public housing in the city is just too high, the Berlin Senate ruled today, and from now on the rent tenants pay will be directly linked to how much they earn.
In a city with high numbers of public housing residents, the effect of the new rule could be striking. Of Berlin’s current 3.5 million residents, about 250,000 people live in housing projects, spread across some 125,000 apartments. The city also has 280,000 apartments owned by four state property companies that will likewise be subject to the new rules.
From now on, low-income tenants in these homes will have a guarantee that rent rises will not price them out. The number of these protected apartments will also go up. Today’s ruling binds the Berlin Senate to build 30,000 new public housing units within the next 10 years, while the proportion of affordable housing owned by the state property companies will also be pushed up.
The new law, thoroughly explained in the Berliner Zeitung newspaper yesterday, will work as follows. People on low incomes living in social- or state-owned housing will pay no more than a third of their gross income in rent. For tenants in a few buildings with especially high energy costs, that ceiling will be dropped to 25 percent of gross income. […]