The topic of the rising rents in Berlin has been plaguing us for a few years now and it doesn’t seem to become any better with the shortage of available rooms and apartments becoming more severe over time. The situation has led greedy real estate companies to ignore legal rent regulations offering apartments for prices that only the wealthiest can afford. The “Mietpreisbremse” introduced a while ago was meant as a tool to stop landlords from overcharging. But the mechanism requires people to take action against it, no-one’s doing it for you.
A few months ago we took a closer look at what you can do if you think your rent is illegally high. Now that some time has passed we wanted to know: Does it actually work? We got in touch with one iHeartBerlin reader who actually went through the process with one of the options from the article: the consumer rights service wenigermiete.de. To our delight, he successfully managed to reduce his rent by 226 EUR. We met him in his apartment in Neukölln and talked with him about how that worked.
Why did you choose to move to Berlin and where did you live before?
The first time I moved here was for an internship and I fell in love with the city. So I decided to move to Berlin permanently when I finished my degree.
Which area of Berlin did you decide to move to, and what do you like about the area?
I moved to Kreuzberg/Neukölln. I really like the area because of the diversity.
When and how did you realize that you might pay too much rent?
I listened to Radio Spätkauf where they talked about wenigermiete.de and thought that I might as well check if there was any chance of getting my rent reduced.
What were the first actions that you took to deal with this?
I just went to their website and typed in the information about my apartment.
Were you concerned about the relationship with your landlord?
Not really. They made it clear that they would not contact my landlord unless I allowed it and if they were confident that I had a good case.
What were your expectations or doubts about the service of wenigermiete.de?
I didn’t really have any expectations. I thought it was a longshot.
How did the process with wenigermiete.de go, once you got them involved? Was there anything that surprised you along the way?
How smooth, fast and easy it was! I answered emails from them and then I had my rent reduced in less than a month.
Were there any repercussions with your landlord afterward?
No. I just got a letter that the rent was reduced and have not had any problems at all.
What would you recommend to other Berlin renters in dealing with the issue of illegally high rents?
Get in contact with wenigermiete.de. I was shocked how easy it was and I’m saving 226 Euros per month.
Thank you for the interview and your time, Jacob!
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If you too have the suspicion that you rent might be illegally high, read up on our previous story.
For all people that are reducing their rent, you should keep in mind that in case the rental law gets reversed (which I hope it will not be!), the landlords can ask for all the money back. So you should rather put the money you are saving in rent aside until it is certain that the law is here to stay.
what you address here are rent reductions based on the Mietendeckel, not the Mietpreisbremse. The “Deckel” is in fact still in limbo and whoever got their rent reduced really might have to pay back what they saved. The case of the Mietpreisbremse, which is what this article is about, is different because it addresses high rents that are already breaking existing law. There is no danger of having to pay back anything here once you get your rent reduced based on that.