German mayors team up for more more affordable housing

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Mayor of Hamburg Peter Tschentscher, mayor of Berlin Franziska Giffey, and mayor of Munich Dieter Reiter have all joined the initiative to secure affordable housing in their cities by strengthening the municipal right of first refusal.

Right of first refusal is commonly used in real estate. It refers to a clause in a lease or other real estate agreement that gives an interested party the option to purchase the property first.

Mayor of Hamburg Peter Tschentscher stated as per the official website of the city of Hamburg: “With the right of first refusal, tenants can be protected from speculation and displacement. Hamburg, Berlin and Munich, as the largest German cities, are strongly affected by this. We are working together to ensure that this important instrument remains usable when it is needed.”

The decision of the Federal Administrative Court from November last year, which forbids the precautionary use of the right of first refusal for this purpose, prompted the joint initiative. The mayors of Germany’s three largest cities stressed the significance of a federal legal restructuring of the municipal right of first refusal.

Mayor of Berlin Franziska Giffey stated: “The Federal Administrative Court has ruled on a legal dispute in Berlin, but the judgment affects all of Germany. Wherever the housing markets are tight, we need effective and legally secure instruments to protect tenants.

‘’That’s why we’re joining forces and campaigning with the federal government and the other states to create the necessary legal conditions to enable the municipalities to exercise the right of first refusal in certain cases and to conclude agreements to avert the situation. I consider this to be an important building block in our commitment to greater tenant protection in Berlin as well,’’ she continued.

Numerous German cities have been dealing with skyrocketing rent prices and general housing shortage lately. That is why the mayors of three German cities have recognized the need to work on a nationwide solution.

Mayor of Munich Dieter Reiter stated: “As a municipality, we have only a few options for effectively protecting tenants. With the right of first refusal, we have often been able to ensure in recent years that apartments have remained affordable and have not been converted into luxury apartments.’’ (photo credit: Rick Jack/Unsplash)