Berlin’s construction industry has come to a near halt, with no new major construction and landlords performing only emergency repairs. The cause is a new rent control ordinance expected to take effect in just a few weeks. The city government plans to freeze rents for five years. Meanwhile, activists are collecting signatures to put a referendum on the ballot to seize the property of larger developers and operate it as public housing. City officials admit that the rental control law is extreme but say it is needed because of soaring rents and a housing construction market that has failed to keep pace with demand.
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