Christoph Gröner has made a lot of money turning office buildings into luxury apartments. He says he never buys property where tenants are already living. His projects contribute to gentrification but not directly at the expense of others.
Berlin's governing Social Democrats have voted against expropriating major developers to bring 240,000 apartments under public control. An initiative is campaigning for a referendum on the issue in the German capital.
Berlin's brand-new rent freeze (and cap) is hardly unique among cities with pressured housing markets. But while other cities have stricter laws, Berlin's new rent control has some more unique protections.
The Left's Bundestag leader, Sahra Wagenknecht, has proposed a nationwide rent cap for Germany. Berlin's urban development minister has already proposed capping monthly rates at €7.97 per square meter in the capital.
Renters in Berlin are appealing to the local council to stop the sale of their homes. But if buyers offer no guarantees, and the building is too expensive, there isn't much the authorities can do to protect them.
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