Berlin Is The Place

The place where you don’t want thriving companies offering gainful employment and increasing property value in your neighborhood.

Gentrification

I get it. It’s about gentrification again. But the problem here isn’t the evil capitalist rich swooping in to speculate and force the poor out of their neighborhoods. The problem is a classic case of “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” The German government in general and the Berlin government in particular have been “helping” German renters for decades in ways that have discouraged Germans from owning property of their own (the vast majority of Berliners pay rent). Then when reality finally strikes (supply and demand = rising rents) the same politicians can’t help these renters anymore and leave them high and dry with rents they can no longer afford to pay. Ain’t nothing new.

Kreuzberg has long been one of the most affordable areas of Berlin, making it a haven for students, immigrants, artists and activists, a hub of culture, night life and left-wing politics. But in a pattern repeated in similar neighborhoods in many of the world’s wealthiest cities, affluent people have moved in, too, in recent years, bringing with them the social tensions of gentrification.

“They push out the people who were here before.”

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Keep Berlin Poor!

And sexy, of course.

It all used to be so easy. But now property prices are rising like mad. This is not sexy, I am told. Unless, of course, you own property here, which practically nobody does. And that brings us back to poor…

Poor

About 85% of Berlin’s 3.4 million residents live in rentals and homeownership remains remarkably low — a condition fostered by the city’s turbulent history, Cold War division and five decades of communist rule in East Berlin. Almost by nature, Berliners tend to have a low regard for property owners…

Though still modest compared with other cities in Europe, rents in Berlin have risen 75% in the last five years. A recent survey by the property consultant group Knight Frank showed that property prices in Berlin rose 21% in 2017, the steepest rate in its survey of 150 cities around the world and far above the average increase of 4.5%. The biggest increases that year in the United States were Seattle, where rent rose 12.7%, and San Francisco, where they were up 9.3%.

“Once you move into an apartment in Germany, you are basically in the lease for life unless you cancel it yourself.”

Redistribution Is Da Solution (Again)

The next step backwards: Berlin has a new law prohibiting landlords from demanding rents that are more than 10 percent higher than the area average, in an attempt to keep housing affordable in a city that’s attracting 50,000 new residents a year. The rule relies on a disputed index — known as the Mietspiegel — that critics say is a statistical crapshoot.

Rents

“The rent brake is essentially a transfer of wealth from landlords to tenants. Berlin will become less of a destination for international investors because capital doesn’t like to be constrained.”

That’s One Small Spout For A Man…

And one giant leak for MANkind!

Urinating

I don’t make this stuff up, people.

A German court on Thursday ruled in favour of men’s right to urinate standing up, after a landlord tried to retain part of a tenant’s €3,000 (£2,300) deposit for allegedly damaging the marble floor of a toilet by sprinkling it with urine.

The debate about whether men should stand or sit when urinating is no laughing matter in Germany, where some toilets have red traffic-style signs forbidding the standing position. There is also a derogatory term for men who sit and pee – “Sitzpinkler” – which implies that it is not masculine behaviour.

Der Hausbesitzer wollte 1900 Euro einbehalten, weil der Marmorboden der Toilette abgestumpft war.