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Housing

Rental housing shortage a reality, German lobbyists say

The German Tenants' Association (DMB) has warned there's a dire lack of affordable housing across the country. It's called on the government to fix the problem with more subsidies and development funds.

The German Tenants' Association (DMB) warned on Thursday there was a lack of an estimated 250,000 rental apartments in the country. "We're heading towards a full-blown housing shortage," DMB President Franz-Georg Rips said in a statement in Berlin.

He noted the shortage was already affecting tens of thousands of young families, pensioners and low-income earners as affordable housing was increasingly at a premium.

Rips emphasized that the situation was particularly alarming in big cities across Germany, with Munich, Frankfurt and Hamburg being hardest hit by the shortage and the resulting hike in rents. He noted that rent increases of up to 10 percent per year had been quite normal in recent years.

Draft bill revisited

The DMB urged the government to do more to ease the situation on the housing markets. Among other things, it called for more state subsidies and special development funds to facilitate the construction and provision of affordable housing.

The association demanded that endeavors should also focus on the creation of more council houses, the number of which went down by a third between 2002 and 2010.

It also called on the government to reconsider its draft legislation pertaining to a new bill on tenants' rights. The DBM criticized what it viewed as Berlin's drive to curtail the rights of tenants by watering down lease contract cancellation provisions.

hg/msh (dpa, Reuters)