The Berlin government’s envisaged five-year rent cap on residential properties has caused significant uncertainty among investors in housing portfolios.

By Constanze Kugler and Christian Thiele

On 18 June 2019, the Berlin Senate published a position paper specifying details of an envisaged five-year rent cap on residential properties in the German capital. The cap would significantly strengthen current restrictions on rent increases, which can only occur subject to certain rules and within certain limits. Berlin’s government aims to pass the statute later this year and enter it into force no later than January 2020.

Key Provisions

The position paper outlines the following key terms of the rent cap:

Proposed reforms to the Mietpreisbremse aim at strengthening and solidifying restrictions on steep rent increases in German urban areas.

By Christian Thiele and Eun-Kyung Lee

After intense discussions within the ruling coalition, the German government this week adopted a draft bill regarding the reform of German tenancy law.

What is the Mietpreisbremse?

The Mietpreisbremse (literally “rental price brake”) introduces a considerable element of rent control into the German legal system and is one of the largest political projects in the German rental market in recent years. Adopted in 2015, the measure allows the governments of the 16 German federal states to cap landlords’ rental price raises for new rentals by way of regulation. The main purpose is to prevent landlords of apartments in urban areas from significantly increasing rents following a change of tenant. According to Section 556d of the German Civil Code, the rental price in a new residential lease contract must not exceed the local comparable rent by more than 10% if the regulations have declared the relevant region as part of an area with a strained residential market. Of the 16 federal states, 11 states, including Berlin, Hamburg, and metropolitan areas in North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria, have so far passed such a regulation.