Rent Freeze – Berlin’s Rental Revolution

This is an experiment. What happens when an entire city of 3.5 million residents stops paying rent increases for the next five years? Rent Freeze is a podcast about Berlin’s rental revolution. A radical new housing law is attempting to stop runaway rental prices by freezing them for half a decade. On this series, we’ll explain what the rent freeze is all about, speak to supporters and critics, and follow the consequences – intended and unexpected. No one knows what will happen next. After all, this is an experiment.

Rent Freeze is produced and presented by Joel Dullroy, Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik and Daniel Stern. Music by Tom Evans. Sound recording by Stefan Lindner. Artwork by Jim Avignon.

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Rent Freeze #1: The Experiment

What happens when an entire city of 3.5 million residents stops paying rent increases for the next five years? Welcome to Rent Freeze, a podcast about Berlin’s rental revolution.

Berlin is about to introduce the Mietendeckel, a law that will freeze rents for five years, cap new rental contracts at a maximum price, and allow some tenants to claim a rent reduction. Supporters say it will be the best thing to happen to the city since the fall of the Wall

But investors and landlords are outraged. They say the reforms will scare off businesses, leave houses unbuilt and in disrepair, and feed a grey market for off-the-books rental as desperate Berliners try to find a flat.

On this episode we explain the basics of the law, and talk to Daniel Halmer of Wenigermiete.de about why the existing rent controls haven’t worked.

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