Last year the Berlin state government agreed a controversial new rental cap law designed to curb the rocketing costs of housing.

It will mean around 1.5 million homes in the capital will have their rents frozen for five years and capped at €9.80 for Kaltmiete (cold rent, or costs before utilities) per square meter.

The draft law states that landlords cannot charge rents higher than what the previous tenant paid and, if their rent is above the limit set out in a rent table, they can even apply to have it lowered.

Existing rents also may not be more than 20 percent above this upper limit, or else tenants can demand a reduction.

The law on the rent cap (Mietendeckel) still has to be passed by Berlin’s House of Representatives. That is likely to happen in the first quarter of this year. The law will then be applied retroactively from June 18th, 2019, which means that any recent rental increases may be deemed as not valid.

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