On Monday (23 November 2020) the second stage of the Berlin rent cap came into force. For stage 1, we recommend our article of February 05, 2020.
Stage 2 of the rent cap now also sets upper limits for old contracts (rents before 2014). Berlin's citizens can find out on a Senate website whether their rent is too high. Depending on the year of construction, a maximum of EUR 9.80 cold rent per square meter is permitted. By adding surcharges for particularly good locations or modern equipment, the basic rent can be up to EUR 11.54. If these upper limits are exceeded by more than 20%, tenants* can demand a reduction of their rent, retain the difference directly or, if necessary, sue.
Whether the rent cap in stage 1 has had a positive effect in the last 10 months may now be doubted. According to an analysis published by Immoscout24 in mid-October, the number of rental apartments on offer in Berlin has fallen by 41.5 percent. The apartments are usually only sold or used by the owners themselves. It is harder than ever for tenants to find an apartment.
In addition, practice shows that two rents are now agreed in new rental agreements. One is the rent when the rent cap is valid and the other is the so-called (higher) shadow rent, in case the rent cap is constitutionally not valid. A decision by the Federal Constitutional Court is expected next spring. Landlords prefer the term "transparent rent" instead of "shadow rent", because tenants are immediately informed about the possible assertion of claims for back payment or even claims for termination and eviction.
The situation therefore seems to be more tense than ever. In any case, we will continue to report for you on how the rent cap is progressing.
Attorney at law Dennis Wiegard
Düsseldorf, November 26, 2020