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Why Germans Rent

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Excellent piece, thanks for posting.

One might be forgiven for thinking that current UK economic problems would be a trigger to change to something more sensible like this.... but I wouldn't hold my breath... the UK rental system did used to be a lot more like Germany's before Thatcher’s *reforms* [in the late 80s]... under the old Rent Acts, tenants had security of tenure and price controls.... perhaps it's time to bring something similar back?...

But as I said: I won't be holding my breath.

Edited by kjw

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Excellent piece, thanks for posting.

One might be forgiven for thinking that current UK economic problems would be a trigger to change to something more sensible like this.... but I wouldn't hold my breath... the UK rental system did used to be a lot more like Germany's before Thatchers *reforms* [in the late 80s]... under the old Rent Acts, tenants had security of tenure and price controls.... perhaps it's time to bring something similar back?...

But as I said: I won't be holding my breath.

"

Economists think German housing policy struck a much better balance between government involvement and private investment than in many other countries. For instance, in the UK, when the government gave housing subsidies to encourage the building of homes after the war, only public-sector entities, local governments, and non-profit developers were eligible for them. That effectively squeezed the private sector out of the rental market. In Germany, the role of public policy was to follow a third way that involved striking a sensitive balance between letting the market rip in an uncontrolled manner and strangling it off by heavy-handed intervention, wrote economist Jim Kemeny, of the German approach to housing policy.

Britain also imposed stringent rent and construction cost caps on developers of public housing. Under those constraints, housing quality suffered. Over time, the difference between publicly and privately financed construction became so glaring that rental housingwhich was largely publicly financedacquired a stigma. In other words, it became housing for poor people.

Germany also loosened regulation of rental caps sooner than many other countries, according to economist Michael Voightländer, who has written extensively about Germanys housing market. By contrast in the UK, harsher regulation on rented housing stretched well into the 1980s, pushing landlords to cut back on maintenance and driving the quality of housing down still further.

"

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Excellent piece, thanks for posting.

One might be forgiven for thinking that current UK economic problems would be a trigger to change to something more sensible like this.... but I wouldn't hold my breath... the UK rental system did used to be a lot more like Germany's before Thatcher’s *reforms* [in the late 80s]... under the old Rent Acts, tenants had security of tenure and price controls.... perhaps it's time to bring something similar back?...

But as I said: I won't be holding my breath.

I used to rent in the mid 80's and it was totally sh*t. Very few people I knew had the luxury of a "tenancy agreement", the ones that did were the ones that managed to get a council flat. We mostly rented under a "licence agreement" which I think gave you no rights at all. Accommodation was utterly dire, all deposits were held by landlords so there was sweet FA chance of seeing any of it again.

All that said, accommodation was very cheap at the time. Private rental property was generally skank because I don't think there was any profit in it. Certainly my various landlords didn't seem wealthy, and generally seem to have acquired the properties through inheritance. I lived in a good few 2/3/4 bed flat and house shares in London and paid between £13 and £28 a week excluding bills. It wasn't much money even then. One guy I worked with rented a one bedder with parking space in the Barbican for £35 a week- and that was in the early 90's..

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I thought the opposite.

It seemed the author was suggesting rigid rent controls in the UK caused a schism in quality of housing between private and public housing and the driving out of private rented sector.

I took it to be a VI piece on 'the dangers of rent controls'. Hence all this guff about 'third ways' and the like. Where have we heard that before?

I think we're saying the same thing.

This is always the way when comparisons are made between the UK and European housing markets. We all want to buy...they all want to rent...etc with never a admission that the econ 101 maxim that rent controls = bad might just be nonsense looking at the parallel wealth of evidence.

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I think we're saying the same thing.

This is always the way when comparisons are made between the UK and European housing markets. We all want to buy...they all want to rent...etc with never a admission that the econ 101 maxim that rent controls = bad might just be nonsense looking at the parallel wealth of evidence.

No, you're just twisting the evidence

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How?

Eh?

It's for you to show you're right, not in the absence of you doing that, for me to show you're wrong, that's how logic works

The evidence just doesn't support your assertion, across the board

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Eh?

It's for you to show you're right, not in the absence of you doing that, for me to show you're wrong, that's how logic works

The evidence just doesn't support your assertion, across the board

For it to be a matter of logic that assumes a starting premise of one Quartz article as the word on the matter.

I don't think that makes sense. I could just as equally say that evidence of more highly controlled, more affordable, better quality, longer and greater security of tenure elsewhere does support my assertion. Regardless, I'm quite happy to disagree because these debates always revert back to political ideals (where we may actually have quite similar views) and/or definitions of what 'working' means within the context of all the other stuff that also affects housing policy, rather than first principles of just housing people fairly in a less pro-rentier state so they can get on with their lives.

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All that said, accommodation was very cheap at the time. Private rental property was generally skank because I don't think there was any profit in it. Certainly my various landlords didn't seem wealthy, and generally seem to have acquired the properties through inheritance. I lived in a good few 2/3/4 bed flat and house shares in London and paid between £13 and £28 a week excluding bills. It wasn't much money even then. One guy I worked with rented a one bedder with parking space in the Barbican for £35 a week- and that was in the early 90's..

I find those figures hard to believe and certainly not my experience. I rented in the 80s too and generally the places were awful. However a cold but okay 1 + cot room flat in Brighton was costing me 300 quid a month. I moved to Reading where the cheapest place I could find in 1987 was a dank 1 bed flat in the skankiest part of town and it cost 350quid/month. London in 1991 I rented a two bedroom flat with a mate and we were paying 210 quid per week, which was relatively cheap at the time. The landlord was trying to sell the place for 110K as he never saw the price of property rising again in his lifetime! :-)

My experience of renting in Germany, hard to find anywhere and nazi landlords. Regarding their rent controls - putting up rent 15% in 3 years, many UK landlord would dream of that. As for France, they dropped their limited rent controls after 12 months blaming them on stagnating house building.

Edited by davidg

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Excellent piece, thanks for posting.

One might be forgiven for thinking that current UK economic problems would be a trigger to change to something more sensible like this.... but I wouldn't hold my breath... the UK rental system did used to be a lot more like Germany's before Thatcher’s *reforms* [in the late 80s]... under the old Rent Acts, tenants had security of tenure and price controls.... perhaps it's time to bring something similar back?...

But as I said: I won't be holding my breath.

The UK has never had anything like Germany's system. Pre thatchers reforms you could find hardly anything to rent on the private market and most certainly nothing under the protected rent acts. As a single person most parts of the country had nothing available in council or housing associations either. Furnished accommodation meant no protection at all and extremely run down property with little choice for exorbitant money. We need the German system but unfortunately we can see from the recent nonsense in Westminster this week that we will never have anything. Not from Tory and not from the Champagne socialists who have a load of property in their own pork folio's.

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What I read was what I expected to read. The banks didn't lend easily up 120% etc. This is the reason G never had a bubble and bust and so why vast numbers didn't move from rental to 'ownership'.

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What I read was what I expected to read. The banks didn't lend easily up 120% etc. This is the reason G never had a bubble and bust and so why vast numbers didn't move from rental to 'ownership'.

Idiots, they could all be rich !!!

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Idiots, they could all be rich !!!

It caused a big fuss last year when charts showed that the PIIGs mostly had higher household wealth than the Germans..the German median was surprisingly low at 51,000 euro, though their average was a more favourable comparison, but still lowly.

Didn't actually take into account the country's real wealth and the Government's finances....but hey fantasy private balance sheets based on property wealth is what makes you rich.

http://rhg.com/notes/europes-household-survey-is-german-wealth-really-that-modest

Edited by crashmonitor

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I find those figures hard to believe and certainly not my experience. I rented in the 80s too and generally the places were awful. However a cold but okay 1 + cot room flat in Brighton was costing me 300 quid a month. I moved to Reading where the cheapest place I could find in 1987 was a dank 1 bed flat in the skankiest part of town and it cost 350quid/month. London in 1991 I rented a two bedroom flat with a mate and we were paying 210 quid per week, which was relatively cheap at the time. The landlord was trying to sell the place for 110K as he never saw the price of property rising again in his lifetime! :-)

My experience of renting in Germany, hard to find anywhere and nazi landlords. Regarding their rent controls - putting up rent 15% in 3 years, many UK landlord would dream of that. As for France, they dropped their limited rent controls after 12 months blaming them on stagnating house building.

Certainly was my experience living in London from 1984 to 1988, and a bit in the early 90s. We are talking the skankiest sh*tholes possible in the pre-canary wharf Isle of Dogs and other east end areas. Rough as hell. Ok the £13 a week was in a 6 person flat share in an apparently condemned ex-council block on the Isle of Dogs. The most I ever paid in that time was £147 a month in a flat share in Ilford. I moved to Cardiff in 1989 and rented a one bed flat (the first of my "own" places) for £150 a month.

Your standards were clearly higher than mine ;) .

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