Imagine a $ 28,000 charge for furniture. The reality for renters in Berlin is ugly

In September, millions of people leaned on Berliners as they passed a referendum to wrest 240,000 rental units from institutional landlords in order to control explosive housing costs. However, the referendum is now in limbo as Berliners continue to struggle with low inventory, skyrocketing rents and tenants asking potential tenants astronomical fees for the chance to secure a new home.

The most obvious example? A contract for the purchase of $ 28,000 for furniture and appliances.

“In Germany it is common for apartments to be delivered with only the bare minimum – often without appliances or even kitchen cabinets.” a Bloomberg item explained Thursday. “It is therefore not uncommon for tenants to sell their property to the next occupant.

“But while in the past that might have meant expecting to pay around $ 1,000 to $ 3,000 for some consumer goods, tenants and agents say they are seeing sky-high mark-ups lately,” he said. he added. “An ad recently asked for 25,000 euros ($ 28,300) up front for kitchen supplies, a television, and furniture – including a sofa, bed, patio furniture and other items.”

Rental advocates in Berlin have said Bloomberg tenants are so desperate for housing, they are often willing to sign rental contracts with exorbitant – and illegal – terms. And landlords, they said, allow current tenants to name their terms and choose the next tenant who is willing to shell out thousands of dollars for a furnished apartment.

“People offer to pay thousands of dollars for furniture that is worth much less, agree on things that are unreasonable – like high prices when the owner is not supposed to ask that much – or a cons – offer with a higher rent, “Ioannis Tzakris, CEO of Black Label Properties, said Thursday. “It’s pretty wild.”

In addition to price increases from current tenants, Tzakris and several other advocates have said landlords are abusing loopholes in Berlin’s rent control laws that limit rent increases to 10% above the region’s average and at 15% over a three-year period. . To get around these rules, landlords make substandard improvements to collect a 2% modernization surcharge and use term lease renewals to increase rents.

As the government fights for the referendum and other rental laws, Berlin-based consumer fraud expert Thomas Schulte has said tenants need to learn rental laws, advocate for themselves and report complaints. owners who break the law.

“Foreigners don’t know about regulations and security checks,” Schulte said of the additional danger foreigners face. “The Berlin real estate market is crazy right now, and it has opened the door to various scams and forms of abuse.”

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