German government calls for more protection for tenants against defaults due to energy crisis

Germany’s Housing Minister Klara Geywitz on Sunday advocated better protection for tenants who are exposed to termination of their contracts for non-payment in the face of rapidly rising electricity and heating costs.

“In the case of ordinary evictions for late payment of rent, we need the possibility that the amount owed can be paid (even if it is) late until the date of the move-out to cancel the termination of the contract of the apartment,” he said.

So far, the so-called grace period payment only applies to contract terminations without notice. However, Geywitz has pointed out that the state aid package clearly states that adjustments to the energy law should prevent people from being left without electricity and gas and has added that, in addition, work is to be done on a social rent law.

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“I assume that my colleague, Justice Minister Marco Buschmann, is already preparing it intensively,” the minister outlined in declarations granted to the Sunday newspaper ‘Bild am Sonntag’, as reported by the German news agency DPA.

In this sense, the minister has asked the municipalities not to sell their land, but to lease it, in order to curb the sharp rise in land prices. “You cannot multiply land. Then it disappears. This is how we break speculation with land prices,” she said.

“In addition, the reinforcement of the right of first refusal by the municipalities must arrive now. When municipalities are the first to access a land, they have a much better negotiating position,” he has argued.

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Geywitz has also called for progress in prefabricated and mass-produced modular construction in the face of rising prices in the construction sector. “Everyone who is building right now realizes that it has become more expensive. In this situation, we have to think about how we can cushion prices,” he has proposed.

“If we want to build more housing with the same number of skilled workers, the only way is through serial or modular construction,” he has recommended, while saying that, in view of climate change, it is important that standards are not relaxed and that, for example, insulation cannot be reduced or the installation of solar panels on roofs be foregone.

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