Berlin has voted to nationalise the city’s biggest landlords, with 56.4 percent of voters saying yes to the non-binding referendum instigated by Deutsche Wohnen & Co. enteignen. Voters were asked whether the state should purchase the real estate of landlords that own more than 3,000 apartments. This will apply to 240,000 apartments, or 15 percent of Berlin’s housing stock. The vote means the Senat must “initiate all measures” to put the decision into practice. “This referendum must be respected and the necessary steps must be taken,” said Franziska Giffey, Berlin’s incoming mayor.
This has inspired hundreds of other cities around the world to contemplate similar measures to combat what are increasingly seen as predatory practices by landlords.