In Brief: Next part of Berlin’s controversial rent cap law takes effect on Monday

Starting on Nov. 23, Berlin landlords will be held accountable for reducing their tenants’ rents if the amount exceeds the upper limits set by the state by 20%. It’s part of Berlin’s controversial “Mietendeckel” or rent cap law, which is still being challenged in court.

Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

 

Updated on Nov. 19 at 11:30 a.m.

By Sylvia Cunningham and Kate Brady

Germany’s disease prevention authority is turning to the Berlin hot spot of Mitte in the latest stage of its COVID-19 antibody study.

The Robert Koch Institute will take blood samples and throat swabs from up to 2,000 volunteers in Mitte over the next several weeks.

Mitte is the district with the highest seven-day incidence rate in the city, more than double that of Pankow and Lichtenberg, among others.

Researchers hope to learn more about asymptomatic people and how many cases have gone unreported during the pandemic.

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Saxony police are asking for the public’s help in finding two 21-year-old men accused of stealing expensive treasures from Dresden’s Grünes Gewölbe, or the “Green Vault,” last November.

Three other suspects were arrested on Tuesday in Berlin, following raids of 20 properties, garages and vehicles mostly in the district of Neukölln.

More than 1,600 police officers from across Germany were involved in the operation, which disrupted traffic across much of Berlin.

Last November 25, suspects stole three valuable sets of 18th century jewelry from the historic Green Vault before fleeing in a car.

The jewelry has not been recovered.

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Starting on Monday, Berlin landlords will be held accountable for reducing their tenants’ rents if the amount exceeds the upper limits set by the state by 20%.

It’s part of Berlin’s controversial “Mietendeckel” or rent cap law, which is still being challenged in court.

If the law is later overturned, tenants will likely need to pay back the difference – which is why they’re told to put that money aside.

Last month, the German Constitutional Court rejected a landlord’s urgent motion to stop the next phase of the law from coming into effect.

Still, a bigger question about the law’s constitutionally remains. A decision on that matter is expected in the second quarter of next year.

The city Senate has released a calculator to help residents determine if their rent is considered “excessive” under the law and is eligible to be reduced.

Those upper limits are determined by a number of factors including the date the apartment building was built and when it was last renovated.

Social housing and new buildings that were first occupied on or after Jan. 1, 2014 are exempt from the law.

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