The top of the SPD parliamentary group is committed to stricter limitations on rent increases. In a decision paper for the parliamentary group retreat at the beginning of next week, which is available to the German Press Agency and the “Bild am Sonntag”, there is talk of a “nationwide rent freeze”. Specifically, however, the only requirement is that rents in tense residential areas should not increase by more than six percent in three years and not exceed the local comparative rent.

There is currently a general limit for rent increases of 20 percent in three years. In areas with a tight housing market, the figure is 15 percent. In the coalition agreement, the traffic light parties had agreed to lower this cap to 11 percent. However, given the current critical situation on the housing market, the SPD parliamentary group does not consider this to be sufficient. The paper has already been approved by the executive board of the parliamentary group and is to be discussed in a larger group at the retreat in Wiesbaden.

Link index rents to net cold rents

It also calls for a solution for index leases. These rents, which are linked to the inflation rate, have become a problem because the prices – and thus the rents – rose sharply as a result of the Ukraine war. “The previous regulation has often led to rent increases of more than ten percent per year,” argues the SPD. She now proposes linking index rents to the general development of net cold rents instead of to the inflation rate. But at least an “effective cap” should be introduced for such contracts.

The SPD also wants to take action against high additional costs when buying an apartment or house. In the future, a buyer should only pay brokerage fees if he or she has commissioned the broker himself. A flat rate should apply for notary costs.

Pandemic and war exacerbated the situation

The parliamentary group is skeptical when it comes to the energy standards of new buildings. “In view of the current framework conditions in the construction and housing sector, we want to continue to support compliance with EH40 in new buildings through funding and not pursue an increase in construction costs through a new, higher efficiency standard for the time being,” it says. The new standard in construction should actually be the more complex EH50 efficiency standard. However, stricter insulation requirements would further increase construction costs.

Due to the corona pandemic and the Ukraine war, the already tense situation on the housing market has recently worsened. Building and the loans for it have become more expensive. At the same time, there is a lack of skilled workers.