In the past decade, rent prices in Berlin have doubled and 85% of Berliners rent rather than own their home. With an estimated 40,000 people having moved to the city in the last ten years, capital values also increased rapidly, up 20% in 2018 alone.
Housing advocate groups and activists started to organised protests and it seems that Berlin city council has given in to their demands. Berlin's municipal government has voted to freeze rents for the next five years, and this will be applied retroactively from 18 June.
The retroactive clause is intended to prevent any property owners making massive, panicked rent hikes in the run-up to the rental freeze, as the bill is not expected to be adopted until January 2020.
Critics say the new law will discourage landlords from doing much-needed renovations to properties if they can't recoup the costs in rent. It's also seen by some as a deterrent for property developers, who would otherwise build more properties and increase the rental supply in the city.