Berlin to ban "repurposing" of living space

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Imagine you had bought an apartment with the intention to rent it out as holiday flats because e. g. you were not sure whether you might eed it for yourself or because you were uncomfortable with German tenant-friendly laws. Wouldn't you feel cheated if that came into effect? I certainly would.

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Your very private business plan versus an interest of the greater public. Happens every day, everywhere. Cheated? Or betting on the wrong horse?

 

Here in Wilmerdorf near Fehrbelliner Platz I see an increasing number of holiday apartments and offices/businesses in former apartments , including one beneath us in our house.

On the other hand, all the newcomers to Berlin, and there are and will be in the coming years tens of of thousands of them each year, , face more and more trouble to find a place to live.

 

These newcomers are needed and contribute much more to the city, its businesses and public finances than any 3-weeks-tourist ever will.

And instead of building new suburbs on green land I think it's way better to use the already existing resources first, the holiday apartments and offices in apartment buildings.

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These newcomers are needed and contribute much more to the city, its businesses and public finances than any 3-weeks-tourist ever will.

Hmmm, somebody else already said it up thread but a holiday rental doesn't just see one three week tourist a year or it would be financial suicide to go down that road. They must be let a considerable amount of the time.

 

The question then is, does a succession of tourists bring more to Berlin than one unemployed "artist" occupying the same unit? Not everything can be measured in Euros and cents but Berlin is broke, really broke. It needs money. Tourists bring this money and spend it here. I wonder how many of those complaining about tourists work in industries directly or indirectly dependent on them?

 

I just don't see this issue as cut & dry as some others but that's ok, we're all allowed to have differing opinions :)

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I guess the people/tourists coming to the holiday apartment our house don't fit into the category "unemployed artist". Far from that.

They certainly spent money here, and the landlord will pay taxes on his net income. But other than a tourist a permanent resident contributes with his share of his income taxe to the cities revenues on a regular base.Income tax makes roughly 1/3 of a cities revenues.

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In a city with one third of the population unemployed and another third working for peanuts it is funny you base your whole argument on the income taxes paid by its citizens.

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I guess the people/tourists coming to the holiday apartment our house don't fit into the category "unemployed artist". Far from that.

They certainly spent money here, and the landlord will pay taxes on his net income. But other than a tourist a permanent resident contributes with his share of his income taxe to the cities revenues on a regular base.Income tax makes roughly 1/3 of a cities revenues.

 

I think the income tax from the LL is the least of it. The tourist spends money on services mostly. Services by their nature are labour intensive. Most of the money spent by a tourist here remains in Berlin as it makes its way from his wallet to the salaries of those engaged in the services sector here, primarily gastronomy, but also transport and entertainment.

 

A person living in Berlin might (and that's a big might, given our unemployment problems, low or no pay internships and our mini-job epidemic) pay more in income tax than a tourist might leave in Berlin but I really don't think so. There are threads all over here about people coming here with no money and literally eking out an existence here. These people are not helping the Berlin economy in any serious way and there appear to be a fair few of them. They spend 0 in restaurants here and live on Pasta and tomato ketchup from Lidl.

 

Maybe the good burghers of Berlin should try to limit the number of penniless artists/hipsters etc. coming to Berlin and taking up space in flats that are apparently needed by the locals and are in such short supply that they can't be used for short term holiday lets any more.

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Without accurate statistics for the number of holiday lettings -v- number of units currently available for rent I think this discussion is pointless and I dare say the city has no such statistics. It's all anecdotal.

 

 

In a few more days we may find out whether the city does have such statistics, although you may already find some info here > Zensus 2011 - Startseite

 

 

 

 

Der Termin für die Veröffentlichung der ersten Ergebnisse des Zensus 2011 steht fest: Am 31. Mai 2013 um 11.00 Uhr geben die Statistischen Ämter des Bundes und der Länder Einwohnerzahlen für Bund, Länder und Kommunen sowie Ergebnisse aus der Gebäude- und Wohnungszählung bekannt.

 

"The date of the publication of the first results of the 2011 census has been confirmed: at 11.00 clock on the 31st of May 2013 population figures for federal, state and local governments, as well as results from the building and housing census, will be disclosed by the statistical offices of the Federation and the Länder."

 

2B

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Remember you are living in Germany - they have ways of knowing things - not least the neighbours! Be sure there will be a busybody neighbour in your apartment building who notices new people in the apartment every week or two and will report it.

 

all the neighbours have to do is listen out for the sound of roller luggage passing back and forth through the hinterhof every day. Apparently that's one of the classic signs.

 

also identical jalousien or gardinen at all the windows is a sign that an apartment or set of apartments have become Touristenwohnungen.

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To those who see unlimited tourism as the holy grail to get Berlin out of debt: The average Airbnb user doesn't come to Berlin to see Brandenburg Gate or the Reichstag. They come to enjoy the kind of lifestyle and subculture that is exactly being displaced from the city centre by the current development. In a decade Berlin will be as boring as New York or Paris. Major tourist attractions will serve as a historic Disneyland, but the distinct lifestyles that were possible here will be gone.

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To those who see unlimited tourism as the holy grail to get Berlin out of debt: The average Airbnb user doesn't come to Berlin to see Brandenburg Gate or the Reichstag. They come to enjoy the kind of lifestyle and subculture that is exactly being displaced from the city centre by the current development.

 

I don't rent holiday apartments in Berlin because I live in Berlin, but we normally prefer holiday apartments for our holidays instead of hotels because it makes life easy with kids.

 

However in our company we rent holiday apartments for long term business related visitors.

 

I seriously doubt only artists and hipsters are the main Airbnb customers, they would go for cheaper options like staying at a hostel or just freeloading via couch-surfing.

 

 

In a decade Berlin will be as boring as New York or Paris. Major tourist attractions will serve as a historic Disneyland, but the distinct lifestyles that were possible here will be gone.

 

Funny, they told me the same 10 years ago.

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I didn't say the hipsters and artists are renting Airbnb flats. I said that the typical Airbnb customer rents an apartment in the middle of Kreuzberg to see part of the underground/subculture that Berlin is famous for and proud of. And now think about who's responsible for these subculture, who runs clubs, bars, art spaces etc. (Hint: It's not an Icelandic real estate fund)

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1) New clever use of the internet causes an established industry to lose money, threatens to force it to become more competitive.

 

2) Established industry starts lobbying the government to preserve the status quo.

 

3) Government does exactly that.

 

4) Everyone has a discussion about how annoying hipsters are.

 

5) New clever use of the internet becomes a pretty good service for the whole world apart from Germany.

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Strawman argument, fuzzy dunlop, and playing rather loose with the facts.

 

First of all, Dehoga have been lobbying the Berlin government to do something about the thousands of private lets that are cutting into their profit margins for years. The lobbying efforts were largely ignored, because local government insisted that Berlin still famously had a pool of 100,000 vacant apartments. Since that myth has been disproved and there are widespread reports of housing shortages and skyrocketing rents, the city is just now doing something about it.

 

Secondly, this is by no means strictly a German phenomenon. Many other cities around the world (such as NYC, that capital of socialism) have banned short-term rentals - meaning less than 30 days.

 

Personally, I welcome the ban, although it could theoretically harm me personally by lowering the resale value of our apartment due to the reduced demand. Of the 14 units in our building, 2 are used for holiday rentals. The one on the first floor isn't that bad, because it only sleeps 3, but the 4-bedroom place on the ground floor is a nightmare. We regularly have groups of loud teens and tweens - German and international - partying at all hours of the night, littering in our entranceway, smoking in the stairwells and vomiting in the courtyard. Everyone else in the building has complained, but we have had no recourse against the offending party, because he was entitled under current law, as long as there was no wesentliche Beinträchtigung - which is nearly impossible to prove in court.

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I know what you mean, but I think 4 or 5 tourist families a month bring more to the city than a stable "artist" tenant. You can argue those tourists can just go to a hotel, but in reality many will just not come to Berlin and go somewhere else instead.

 

It wouldn't bring me or most other residents here anything other than further unwelcome upward pressure on rents. If people are spending more on rent, they're spending less on other stuff, which is bad for the economy.

 

 

Without accurate statistics for the number of holiday lettings -v- number of units currently available for rent I think this discussion is pointless and I dare say the city has no such statistics. It's all anecdotal.

 

ACtually... http://www.bmgev.de/mieterecho/mieterecho-online/ferienwohnungen-studie.html

 

 

Imagine you had bought an apartment with the intention to rent it out as holiday flats because e. g. you were not sure whether you might eed it for yourself or because you were uncomfortable with German tenant-friendly laws. Wouldn't you feel cheated if that came into effect? I certainly would.

 

Tough sh!te. You can always sell it again, if renting out to a tenant doesn't appeal to you.

 

 

Hmmm, somebody else already said it up thread but a holiday rental doesn't just see one three week tourist a year or it would be financial suicide to go down that road. They must be let a considerable amount of the time.

 

The question then is, does a succession of tourists bring more to Berlin than one unemployed "artist" occupying the same unit? Not everything can be measured in Euros and cents but Berlin is broke, really broke. It needs money. Tourists bring this money and spend it here. I wonder how many of those complaining about tourists work in industries directly or indirectly dependent on them?

 

Berlin's problems are not going to be solved by bringing in more tourists and raising rents for everyone else. There are plenty of places in the world which rely on tourism but remain economic basket cases.

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Maybe the good burghers of Berlin should try to limit the number of penniless artists/hipsters etc. coming to Berlin and taking up space in flats that are apparently needed by the locals and are in such short supply that they can't be used for short term holiday lets any more.

 

Maybe they would ban the poor but I think extreme right wing politics like that were expelled in 1945.

 

Having a mix of poor and rich all over the city is a good thing, as Paris and numerous other cities with high-rise, high-crime estates on the fringes demonstrate.

 

[quote name='Krieg' date='13.May.2013, 11:10am' timestamp='1368439823' post='3034895

 

Funny, they told me the same 10 years ago.

 

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A quick search on airbnb shows that there are plenty of places still available in New York, so I don't know whether the ban has failed to stop anyone or it hasn't come in yet, but I hope it continues to be as successful as it currently is. I'd much rather rent out an apartment from a local in a city than pay a much higher rate to a hotel chain.

 

There are plenty of people using airbnb who are good neighbors wherever they stay. There is also a feedback system for landlords to use when deciding who can stay at their offered places - if a landlord/lady doesn't choose to use this system, I guess they increase the chances of having "bad tourists" show up.

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Having a mix of poor and rich all over the city is a good thing

Yes, but MIX is the operative word.

 

The seemingly unending stream of penniless EU citizens who have no skills needed on the local labour market who keep moving here are putting even more pressure on the lower end of the housing market and at the same time using public services without contributing in taxes. The same with all the non-EU “English teachers” who need a way to obtain a residence permit. Berlin has more than enough poor residents barely earning a living, not contributing in taxes, and yet using public services.

 

If the city would just start ensuring that EU citizens wanting to take up residence here actually meet the Freedom of Movement criteria and perhaps even suspends or at least reduces the number of freelance permits issued, it would probably serve to ease some of the pressure on the housing market.

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