On July 5, a Berlin housing rights coalition, Deutsche Wohnen and Co. Enteignen (Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen and Co. Initiative), urged the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Social Democratic Party (SPD) government to honor the mandate of the 2021 Berlin referendum and introduce legislation to socialize the properties of corporate realtors, to address Berlin’s housing crisis.
The earlier Red-Red-Green coalition government in Berlin led by the SPD, Die Linke, and the Greens had enacted a rent cap law that envisaged rent freezes at the June 2019 level for 90 percent of Berlin’s apartments for five years. The law was opposed by the CDU and the Free Democratic Party and was challenged in Germany’s constitutional court. In 2021, the court struck down the Berlin rent cap law, courting widespread protests from tenants and housing rights groups in the city.
On September 26, 2021, alongside the federal and Berlin State elections, citizens of Berlin city took part in a referendum that saw 59.1 percent of votes in favor of expropriating the property of realtors that owned 3,000 or more residential units. However, in November 2022, the German Constitutional Court annulled the 2021 Berlin State elections after taking note of various irregularities, complaints, and failures.
Deutsche Wohnen and Co. Enteignen was started in 2018 by housing rights groups and activists in Berlin. The movement called for the expropriation of the properties of 12 private real estate companies with 3,000 or more units in the city.