The housing question is one of the central issues of our time, and events last week in Berlin underscored what’s at stake. In a much-anticipated ruling, Germany’s constitutional court in Karlsruhe ruled that Berlin’s Mietendeckel or rent cap was unconstitutional, and therefore null and void. The product of years of concerted organising by housing movements and leftwing parties in the city, the rent cap is wildly popular with Berlin’s tenants, who make up three-quarters of the city’s households. But it was hated by landlords, real-estate investors and members of Germany’s conservative political parties. The lawsuit against the cap was filed by 284 parliamentary members of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU), and the neoliberal Free Democrats (FDP).
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