Current language: English

Rent cap for social housing: Housing Act is coming

Wohnhäuser in Berlin

Residential buildings stand close together in Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg district.

Social rents in Berlin are to be better protected by law in the future. To this end, the Berlin Senate passed a draft amendment to the Housing Act on Tuesday.

The draft for a "Second Act Amending the Berlin Housing Act" newly regulates three important areas: rent subsidies, the cut-off date regulation and the obligatory rent. According to Urban Development Senator Christian Gaebler (SPD), these changes are good news for tenants in social housing: "They now no longer have to fear that they will not be able to pay the rents in the future."

More households eligible for rent subsidies in future

Among other things, the new version of the Housing Act expands the group of eligible households for a rent subsidy in social housing. Until now, eligible households were allowed to exceed the WBS income limits by up to 40 percent. With the amendment to the law, this limit will be raised to up to 55 percent. This is intended to better safeguard the affordability of housing, especially for tenants who are threatened with a double burden of no longer receiving a rent subsidy and rising energy costs due to an increase in income or pension.

Cut-off date for rent subsidy eligibility no longer applies

Furthermore, the cut-off date for rent subsidies has been dropped in the new draft law. Thus, WBS tenant households that moved in after the previous cut-off date of 1 January 2016 will also be eligible for subsidies. This means that in future all low-income households in social rented housing will be equally eligible for subsidies - regardless of when they moved in.

Committed rent enshrined in law for the first time

In order to provide even better legal protection for existing social rents, the so-called obligatory rent agreed for many social rented housing stocks is now to be legally stipulated for the first time. In future, rent demands that are higher than the obligatory rent can be fined as an administrative offence. According to the Senate, 2,000 households in social housing are directly affected, and potentially around 65,000 tenants in Berlin.

"More protection against excessive rent claims".

On Tuesday, Senator Gaebler was confident about the new draft law. It creates "legal certainty for rent limits and more protection against excessive rent claims". In future, a much larger group of entitled persons would also receive support than before.

Author: BerlinOnline/
Publication date: 21 June 2023
Last updated: 21 June 2023

More News