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About bauman

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  1. It's my understanding that they are required to do so - and they can be fined if they don't. I've explained as much as I know in a newer thread including that subject: Everyone in our block received a letter announcing a rent reduction - together with the caveat that if the rent cap was overturned in the Federal court, they'd be asking for their money back.   I'm actually not sure how that would play out legally. I can probably carry it for 6 months or so but it's a bit rough to expect those who are at a constant financial stretch to put money aside for an indeterminate payback. I'd hope that in the event of a over-ruling, there'd be some sympathetic consideration given to this matter.  
  2. Unfortunately I can't answer the OP's bolded question with certainty, but I can say that the Mieterverein is undertaking two claims on our behalf. One is to lower our rent to the rate commensurate with the rental cap (Mietendeckel or MietenWoGBin) and the other is to recoup the excess rent that we paid from the time the rent freeze (Mietpreisbremse) came into effect and when we made the complaint.   There's another angle - which I haven't quite got my head around - concerning a limitation on the amount the rent can be raised following a re-letting. You have the right to get information from the Landlord about how much the previous tenant was paying. Check out article 2 on the Mieterverein page I've linked below. In our case I think it adds to the argument concerning the rent cap but the technical details are beyond my impoverished understanding of German.   I do know that the Landlord is required by law to lower eligible rents to meet the requirements of the Mietendeckel and failure to do so can technically incur a fine (see article 3 and tips 1 and 2 on the Mieterverein page). Thinking about your bold question, it could be that their failure to lower the rent might give you some leverage in a later civil-law action, but this is only the speculation of a layman. I reckon you should wait for advice from the experts.   On that note: the Mieterverein will give you advice and also send letters on your behalf (if you allow them Power of Attorney) but because you joined after the date the contract was signed, they probably won't insure you against costs. Ours have provided us with a list of possible legal representatives but of course we're hoping it won't need to go that far.   One last thing: our Mieterverein said that if the Mietendeckel is overturned or runs its course in 5 years, "reduction claims from the rent freeze will continue to exist". Could this help you get arrears? Keine Ahnung, but it might be one of the first questions you ask the Verein people.   Good luck with it all.
  3. I think there's two issues being discussed here.   Jebe is talking about the rental cap that the Berlin Senate instituted a while back. This law prevents landlords from raising the rent for the next 5 years, and it's applied uniformly across Berlin - which means that all Landlords must comply with it. The problem is that the Berlin law is currently being contested at a Federal level (if my understanding is correct) and so many LLs, including ours, are sending letters that say: "We're compelled by law not to raise the rent, but be aware that that law might well be overturned, in which case you'll have to pay back the amount that would have been subject to the incremental rise that was written into your contract. We therefore suggest you put aside that extra portion each month in preparation for payback."   The OP was asking about a related matter - coming into effect later this year - which is that your rent can be reduced in some circumstances if it is over and above the rental index (the Berliner Mietspiegel). Those circumstances are pretty complex and include the average rent in the area you live in; the age and condition of your apartment and whether the LL has made certain improvements to the heating and energy efficiency of the building.   It's possible calculate your eligibility using a Mietendeckelrechner (or rent cap calculator) here on the web site of the Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung und Wohnen:   ...but this is only part of the process. You must write a letter to the LL, stating your claim, and they (or their lawyers) will likely respond with a counter-claim in highly technical language, explaining how your calculations are wrong. Nevertheless, it might be worth proceeding and that's where you really need the backing of a Mieterverein - for instance:   The link will take you to a page in English that explains in more detail everything I've said above about rental reductions and rental caps.   In addition, there are also private companies who will help you apply for a rental reduction. The one I know is called who, as far as I know, charge a percentage of the reduced rent as a fee.   The stage that we are currently at is that we sent the LL our claim for a reduction and received a rebuttal. We've now signed power of attorney to the Mieterverein and will wait for them to take the next steps.   We've been pretty careful to correspond politely with the LLs and make them understand that we are simply following professional advice to secure whatever rights we might be legally entitled to (i.e., nothing personal). If it doesn't work out, then so be it.   It's all a bit more complicated than I'd like but I hope this info helps anyway.  
  4. Getting a COVID test in Berlin

      Yes, it worked out pretty well actually. The school arranged for the class to be tested on the Wednesday and then we had to wait for Friday for results (which were negative, thankfully).   There were aspects of the testing procedure I had misgivings about. Kids tend to cough and splutter when a swab stick is jabbed into their mouth and so her 20 classmates coughed and spluttered one after another in a tiny demountable cabinet. The last kid in line would have gotten a good dose of whatever the others were carrying. Luckily none of the others were carrying anything and so we were given the all-clear. Have to remain quarantined until Wednesday however.   The Berlin hotline was pretty responsive and speak good English however they will defer to the local Geshundheitsamt for scheduling and procedure. I had a lot of trouble contacting the Geshundheitsamt by phone, although I did get an email response later. Most of the useful information came by way of our daughter's classroom teacher, who was, of course exposed and due to be tested herself. She contacted us by phone.   She also explained that the child with direct exposure to the infected child is classified as "person 1" (this makes the infected child "person 0"?) The parent, or whoever is once-removed from "person 1" is "person 2" and so-on along the tree of contact. "person 1" has to undergo quarantine, but not "people 2", which in this case are the parents. Of course, if the child tests positive, then the parents become "people 1" etc.   We were really torn about how far down the tree to contact people to tell them there was a risk of infection. There's no easy way to demarcate this. Some friends who were "persons 3 or 4" by the calculation above, were going to postpone attending family events until we could give them our test results. We move in a relatively small social circle but I can imagine how crazy and complicated this could potentially get.   Anyway, thanks again to those who gave advice and reassurance in this thread. And best of luck to anyone else in the same situation.
  5. Getting a COVID test in Berlin

      It's all happening at a time when students move up a grade and the cohorts split into different groups. The very few parents we know (we being the only native English-speakers in the school) have their kids in other classes now. There's a bit of chatter within the old WhatsApp group but it's mostly nervous speculation.   I'm really hoping our school has thought out the hypotheticals. There are others in the same boat from what I've heard...
  6. Getting a COVID test in Berlin

    Thanks engelchen. i just read about the drive-thru in Müllerstr. Unfortunately I don't have a car (but could take a taxi I guess).   The Mitte hotline goes to a recorded message (even though it advertises a Sunday Sprechzeit until 3pm). The Berlin general hotline referred me back to the Mitte Gesundheitsamt, but added the useful information that we should download and fill out a contact tracing document and email it to them in advance.   I kinda guessed this wasn't going to be so easy but then uncertainty and speculation has been characteristic of the whole pandemic so far.   Without wanting to stray off-topic I must say the the whole social dimension of this is pretty disconcerting too. The idea of providing a list of people we've been in contact with before knowing whether we're positive or not, is causing us some anxiety.
  7. Getting a COVID test in Berlin

    Thanks for the replies so far. The links are really useful and yes, it's most important that we get the tests asap but I also want to know about the antibodies. My daughter and I both got pretty ill with flu symptoms around March, when testing wasn't all that easily available, and I've always wondered exactly what that was.   I had a pet theory back then about the role that kids (and schools) played in distributing the virus - in a largely symptomless and random way.   We live in Wedding and so I'll contact the Gesundheitsamt in either Mitte or Pankow tomorrow. Not looking forward to having my nose invaded, but glad to hear the results might be back within 24 hours.   My Dad suggested the test should be as simple as a piece of litmus paper stuck on the front door that you lick before going out. Green means it's good to go, red means go back to bed!
  8. Can anyone give advice from their direct experience of having been tested for COVID in Berlin? I looked, but the 258 page Coronavirus thread is simply too large to find this information easily. Our 8 year-old went back to school a week ago and we got a phone call from her teacher yesterday to inform us that one of her class-mates has tested positive for Coronavirus. Her class has been cancelled, naturally, and we will probably have have to go into isolation - and endure the miseries of even more home-teaching :-( I’m not sure if the whole school closes in this situation but I expect that things will proceed according to a predetermined strategy. Up to this point they’ve been pretty careful with dividing the classes, distancing and wearing masks. The teacher said that we’ll get more information on Monday but I don’t know exactly how much we’ll learn or how quickly things will happen. My concern is that our whole family get tested as soon as possible so that we can get information to others that we may have been in contact with during the last week. We also need to know whether we need to quarantine or not. I was hoping to hear from a Toytowner in Berlin who has undergone the process of testing, who could help us with the following questions: How quickly can one arrange a test in Berlin? How long do you have to wait to get results? Does the same test check for antibodies (indicating a previous infection) or do you have to take a different test for that (a blood test for instance)? I’m not so concerned about the actual experience of being tested - which I’ve heard is pretty uncomfortable - but more about arranging the process.   Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  9. Personalausweis for BVG e-tickets

      The distinction between BVG and DB seems an important one to keep in mind. Thanks. I don't think there's any protection against a ticket inspector having a bad day however...
  10. Personalausweis for BVG e-tickets

      Thanks Santitas, that's what I've been waiting to hear. I'll take a copy of the passport just in case and check out the driver's license situation. The license seems like it could be a good all-purpose surrogate ID card.  
  11. Personalausweis for BVG e-tickets

      Well... I don't really want to buy or drive a car here. I had a gut-full of parking fines, traffic queues and repair bills in Australia. Bicycle and train is good enough for me in Berlin.   Using an Aussie driving license to get a German one so that I can take public transport is an interesting idea though. Thanks for the suggestion - I'll look into it.
  12. Personalausweis for BVG e-tickets

    Thanks for the suggestion - I hadn't thought of it. My feeling though is that I'll end up carrying a bunch of documents with me in the hope that they'll collectively satisfy the requirements, or at the least they'll seem like too much trouble for the controller to follow up on.   Either way, it's a bugger there's not a simple plastic, card-sized solution - or an electronic one, seeing as how I'm presenting my phone as proof of validity.
  13. Personalausweis for BVG e-tickets

    I'm a dual UK/Australian citizen. Don't have anything except passport from the semi-EU UK, but I do have a driver's licence from non-EU Australia. It's got an Oz address of course...
  14. I've looked around for info about this on TT but most discussions about ID cards for non-Germans are centred around the need (perceived or otherwise) to show Personalausweis to the police.   I was wondering if anyone knew about the situation with regard to public transport ticket checks? I downloaded the BVG ticketing app and would dearly love to purchase tickets on my phone so I don't have to remember to validate paper tokens. The problem however is that e-tickets are "only valid  in conjunction with an official identity card".   An email exchange with a friendly BVG rep confirmed that my only options were a driver's licence (which I don't have of course, preferring public transport) or a passport, which I'd rather not take with me every time I want to catch a train.   According to the rep, it's the VBB (Verkehrsverbund Berlin Brandenburg) who makes the rules and not the BVG. She says that copies of passports are not allowed, and I'm guessing my Krankenversicherung card isn't either (even though it's photo ID).   I'd rather not risk an argument with those nice ticket controllers until I'm sure where I stand. Any ideas or advice much appreciated.