According to Vonovia, Germany’s largest real estate company, inflation will probably also affect rental prices. That calls the SPD on the plan.

Representatives of the left wing of the SPD want to protect tenants from inflation-related rent increases with state intervention.

“Vonovia and other real estate companies regularly show that they have dollar signs in their eyes and act completely irresponsibly,” said the co-chairman of the Democratic Left Forum in the SPD (DL21), Sebastian Roloff, the “Handelsblatt”.

But housing is “one of the social issues of our time”. That is why the state must intervene if the market is significantly imbalanced: “A temporary rent freeze, a municipal right of first refusal and the de-privatization of real estate groups are necessary and suitable means that are now required.”

The triggers are statements by the head of Germany’s largest real estate group, Rolf Buch. In an interview with the “Handelsblatt”, he said: “If inflation is permanently at four percent, rents will have to increase accordingly every year in the future.” In the interview, Buch answered the question “What do the tenants of Vonovia’s 500,000 apartments have to prepare for?” responded. However, a Vonovia spokeswoman emphasized that the statements were about economic development and not about a specific announcement.

SPD leader Klingbei speaks of a national effort

SPD leader Lars Klingbeil called rent increases irresponsible because of inflation. “We are currently being asked to stand together as a country in this difficult situation,” he told the Funke media group. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) therefore sat down with employers and unions to look for the best way together: “This is a national effort”. The federal chairman of the Jusos, Jessica Rosenthal, told the “Handelsblatt”: “Housing is a human right and must never become the subject of speculation.”

The deputy FDP chairman Wolfgang Kubicki, however, warned against an intervention. “We need more apartments, not more state intervention,” he told the “Handelsblatt”. “The nationalization of real estate groups does not create a single apartment, but only means that the scarce living space is transferred to other hands.”

The head of the SPD workers’ wing, Cansel Kiziltepe, does not share the assessment. “Housing companies come up with something without being able to explain to what extent inflation should have cost effects on existing apartments,” said the parliamentary state secretary in the Federal Ministry of Building.

The president of the Haus und Grund community of owners, Kai Warnecke, also explained that “not all cost items develop in line with inflation”. There is “no automatism” that rents will have to rise across the board if inflation is higher.