Last night, HR (the regional network for Hessen) featured a 45-minute documentary on German rental issues....entitled: Der Mietreport.
I have to admit, it was the most concise informational piece on the topic and issues of German apartment rental (major issue now in the country) that I've seen yet.
The two pieces which interested me the most?
First came this older lady from Berlin who had a decent apartment which she'd lived in for years and years. Nothing in terms of renovation had been done for at least thirty years, and the owner of the building had decided to finally come in and do new windows, new heating, and various things to cut down heat costs. It was what the renters of the building had been desiring for at least two decades.
Her rent prior to this? Around 750 Euro a month. What they wanted after the job? They wanted to add at least 1,000 Euro to the 750 Euro. You could go and add up heat savings but I doubt if it'd amount to more than 200 Euro a month on heat that you saved. It was way more than she could handle.
In this case, you felt sorry for her......she'd have to look for other property and likely accept the fact that she'd never be able to afford some place that was "new" or "renovated".
The second topic which got me......was this talk over the rural regions of Germany where thousands of apartments and houses sit empty. They are too far from urban areas to affect the situation, and just sit there. Some require some renovation.....some were in perfect living order.
The problem is that there's no urban train network that moves a person a hundred kilometers out to some rural area in the middle of nowhere.....where you could find ample housing for a decent price. And you can't be driving 90-to-120 minutes one-way each day to work.
There's a problem here.....which no one can really answer or solve. Housing in major urban areas (Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, etc) simply are going beyond the capability of most people to afford. A regular guy....can't afford to rent.....unless you live a fair distance out away from town.