Europe

Berlin protests: Thousands gather for march against rising rent prices

A large crowd gathers in Berlin Image copyright EPA
Image caption Protesters are calling for an end to the country's rising rent prices

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Berlin to protest against rising rent prices.

Estimates say housing costs in the German capital have doubled over the past 10 years.

Protesters are calling for the local government to seize properties owned by private landlords. Some campaigners have already launched a petition calling for a referendum on the issue.

Similar protests also took place in Munich and Cologne.

According to a 2019 study by real estate group CBRE Berlin and Berlin Hyp AG, a mortgage lending bank, average rent prices in the city have now surpassed 10 euros (£8.62) per square metre 5% higher than a year ago.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Rent prices in Berlin continue to rise - and wages cannot keep up

The study also found that the price of renting in the suburbs of Berlin is slowly catching up.

The petition set up by the protesters calls for local authorities to seize properties owned by private landlords with more than 3,000 apartments.

Deutsche Wohnen is one of the private companies targeted by campaigners. It has around 115,000 properties in the city.

However, the local government says that seizing properties would cost the city up to €37bn (£31.8bn) in compensation payments, Deutsche Welle reports.

Berlin has already introduced a ban on house owners letting their properties out to holidaymakers - a move popular with residents.

On Saturday, protests also took place in Munich, where rent has also soared in recent years.

Last September, 10,000 people gathered in the city to march against rising rents.

More on this story