With the current revocation of the Mietendeckelgesetz (rent cap), many Berliners are faced with a return of several thousand euros to their landlords. For the sake of “political correctness”, ten million euros have been provided so that no one has to risk losing their home as a result of it.
Some landlords have already announced that they will renounce or freeze the amount to be paid back, including, of course, municipal companies such as Degewo, Gewobag, WBM. While in other cases, tenants will have to try to agree on payment terms.
In order to protect those who will be unable to return the restored rent, “Sicher-Wohnen-Hilfe” funds have been allocated, part of which will be non-refundable aid. For this purpose it will be necessary to fill out an application that includes:
- the rental contract,
- proof of payment of the last three monthly fees,
- a request for payment from the landlord (as soon as available) and
- a written communication stating that you are in financial difficulty (in case you do not receive any social benefits).
Entitled to grant aid are:
- recipients of social benefits (regulated by the third chapter of SGB XII);
- low-income earners and old-age pensioners who do not receive any benefits;
- Wohngeld (housing allowance) recipients;
- while recipients of Kinderzuschlag (supplementary child allowance) without Wohngeld are only entitled through an application to the Jobcenter for a social allowance.
It is important that the application is submitted in April 2021, or at least within the same month as the landlord’s notice of payback, to the Jobcenter or the relevant social welfare office. Initially, an informal written request may be sufficient, while the necessary documents can be delivered at a later date. It is also recommended to send requests by fax or email, as it often happens that documents are lost in the authorities themselves.
Recipients of basic subsistence income for the elderly and for persons with reduced earning capacity (Grundsicherung im Alter und bei Erwerbsminderung in German), on the other hand, will automatically receive the difference in rent to be paid without having to make any application.
Those who do not fall into the above categories can still receive help in the form of a loan through the Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB). The procedure will be unbureaucratic and as quick as possible, while the loans must be repaid without interest. All households whose annual income does not exceed 33,600 Euro are allowed to apply.
Only in some cases, i.e. if the tenants are not able to return part or the whole amount received, the loan or part of it will be considered non-refundable.