28 October – Why are Berlin’s rents rising and what can we do about it?

with Thom McGath (Deutsche Wohnen & Co enteignen)

Monday, 28 October 7pm Die LINKE Neukölln, Wipperstraße 6

Anyone who has tried to find a flat in Berlin knows how quickly rents are rising. Rents have doubled since 2009. In the same time period, the number of homes owned by corporate landlords has more than doubled to 250,000.

Investors and big real estate firms claim that this is the inevitable result of more people wanting to live in Berlin. In truth, it’s a manufactured scarcity of affordable housing created by speculative landlords trying to raise the rent of existing tenants or to gentrify them out through expensive luxury renovations.

As a reaction, tenants groups have set up the initiative Deutsche Wohnen & Co Enteignen (DWE). DWE demands that the city expropriate private housing associations which own more than 3,000 homes, end the privatisation of public housing and increase democratic control by tenants.

DWE has already started their referendum and organized several well-attended demos. Left-leaning members of the Berliner Senat (local council) initially supported the campaign. But, now the SPD mayor Michael Müller is trying to sabotage the campaign. We have been here before. It took a mass popular campaign to prevent the Senat from building luxury houses on Tempelhofer Feld.

If DWE wins, it will be a great  victory for tenants – and not just in Berlin. As neo-liberalism grips the housing market, a successful campaign to control our own housing would be an inspiration to similar campaigns worldwide.

To look at the current state of the campaign, and what we can do to support it, the Berlin LINKE Internationals are organising a meeting with Thom McGath from DWE on 28th October in the LINKE Neukölln offices, Wipperstraße 6. Everyone is invited to take part.

NOTE: because The Roter Laden, our normal meeting place, is being renovated, this meeting is in a different venue. We’ll be back in the Roter Laden for our November meeting,