Berlin's rent cap: a model for Europe?
Rents in Berlin will be frozen for the next five years. The so-called 'rent cap' which was approved by the capital's government consisting of the Social Democrats (SPD), the Left party and the Greens is highly controversial in Germany. Journalists in other countries discuss whether Berlin's example should be followed elsewhere.
Make living outside the city more attractive
The Czech Republic should focus on other measures for the time being, Respekt suggests:
“Housing is a topic that can endanger democracy. For that reason the state and local governments must work together here. For instance, if there were better train connections between Prague and Kladno or Prague and Ústí nad Labem, many people could move to more affordable commuter towns. And these communities would become even more attractive if the state put more money into education, healthcare and other services there. ... In the meantime we can still observe the outcome of the Berlin experiment .”
Raise the minimum wage
Ziarul Financiar is also convinced that there are other ways to solve the housing crisis:
“For example we should engage in dialogue about the cost of living versus salaries. The time has come to conduct this discussion, in the name of the young people who want to leave Romania. ... If we want to build a sustainable society, this government should be aware of the burden that weighs on employees' shoulders. ... We must find a balance between people and companies and start a true dialogue about social inequality and prosperity for the masses. And certainly, further increases in the minimum wage [currently at around 440 euros before taxes and other deductions] would be one way to fight inequality.”
This solution should be taboo
Echo24 sees Prague as also having a problem with over-expensive living space, but warns against copying the Berlin experiment:
“When you bear in mind how little buying power Prague residents have, the city is almost an extreme example of exorbitant housing in Europe. The future maximum rent of 9.80 euros per square metre in Berlin is around 33 percent lower than the average rent in Prague. ... This is the most pressing concern for 55 percent of Prague's young residents. The upshot is that young Czechs are far more prone to subscribe to leftist housing theories. Fortunately, Prague isn't following in Berlin's footsteps. And a good thing, too, in view of its dismal experience with socialist fixed rents.”
A model for Budapest
Although Hungary's housing market has developed differently than Berlin's, the country's newly elected leftist city councils could learn a thing or two from the measure, news website Mérce writes:
“Seen from Budapest, this law which benefits roughly 1.5 million households looks like a remarkable development. In response to strong social pressure a leftist city administration has been able to counter the capitalist interests that are generating profit from the city's living space. Time will tell if this will prove sufficient and if this legislation can stop more radical initiatives [such as expropriation].”