Freiburg determined to tackle unfair rental prices

Skyrocketing rent prices and housing shortage have grown to become one of the most urgent problems European cities are facing. Mayor of Freiburg Martin Horn announced the city has adopted a new mechanism of monitoring online rental advertisements in order to secure fair housing prices for all residents.

Mayor of Freiburg stated on social media: In Freiburg, rents are unfortunately always high. If the city administration receives information or indications that the rental price has enormously increased and is exaggerated, a complaint can be filed”. 

In an effort to achieve fair market rent, the city in southwest Germany has teamed up with the company Mietenmonitor UG. The partner company will assess if there is a suspicion of exorbitant rent using publicly available data from the major real estate platforms. Every month from January 2022, the data will be reported back to the city. 

The action is a part of the broader set of measures known as Affordable housing 2030 which was approved by the Freiburg’s municipal council in November 2020. 

“We are aware that the majority of the landlords adhere to the legal regulations. But unfortunately there are always those who claim completely excessive rents and consciously exploit the tense housing situation to the detriment of the tenants. We focus on these black sheep,” said the head of the department for affordable housing Sabine Recker according to Freiburg’s official website.

Since 2015, the so-called Mietpreisbremse (rent brake) has been in effect, suggesting that landlords may only demand or agree on a rent that is no more than 10% higher than standard local comparative rent. In case of higher rent prices, the city of Freiburg will take direct action against involved parties.

According to mayor Horn, the city government will first approach the respective landlords and attempt to negotiate a reduced rent. If this fails, the city will impose fines in relevant circumstances, as it already does in the case of illegally rented vacation houses, or it will forward the available information to the public prosecutor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)