Berlin votes for the expropriation of large real estate companies

The voters in the federal capital Berlin have decided on a popular initiative for the expropriation of large commercial and real estate companies as well as a new housing association to manage rents.

With more than half of the confirmed votes, the referendum ended this Sunday with 57 percent for the measure and 38 percent against, according to election officials.

Berlin votes for the expropriation of large real estate companies
Berlin votes for the expropriation of large real estate companies

These real estate companies have more than 3,000 apartments in the capital and as a result of this initiative some of them would be “socialized” or placed in the hands of public administration. This would affect around 240,000 apartments, around 15 percent of Berlin’s housing stock.

In return, the companies would be financially compensated with severance payments amounting to an estimated 13,700 million euros.

However, this vote is not legally binding, but is intended to serve as a means of pressure for the Berlin legislature to tackle this conflict-ridden issue in a city that is fighting against gentrification and rent increases.

The “Deutsche Wohnen Co” initiative, which pushed the referendum forward, assumes that the measure can stop the rise in rents and secure affordable prices in the long term.

Even so, we will have to wait until this Monday afternoon to see the final official results of the vote.

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