The situation on the German housing market is becoming increasingly difficult. This was also the result of a report by the German Tenants’ Association. The SPD now wants to take action against rent usury and is threatening fines.

“A reform of the rent extortionate paragraph is urgently needed and also legally possible in order to effectively protect tenants in Germany against usurious prices,” says Zanda Martens, SPD rental expert, to “Bild”.

The term “rent usury” means that the rent is more than 20 percent above the typical local rent. If this is even over 50 percent, the landlord could face imprisonment.

However, the tenants currently have the burden of proof. Because they have to prove that they were unable to find another apartment and that the landlord is taking advantage of this situation. “If individual black sheep among landlords demand exorbitant rents, then in the worst case scenario they will only have to pay back the excessive part of the rent,” says Martens, who no longer wants to tolerate this situation.

The SPD now wants to change the current practice. “Anyone who charges usurious rents should expect a hefty fine in the future,” the SPD rent expert continued. Bundestag experts had recently suggested a change, and the Federal Ministry of Justice should now deal with it.