The new Braunschweig rent index has cleared the first political hurdle: Unanimously, the members of the Committee for Social Affairs and Health voted in their recent meeting for the recognition of the current rent survey. According to this, the average rent in Braunschweig has risen by 6.4 percent to 5.95 euros per square meter compared to 2014.
Thorsten Warnecke, head of the Department of Urban Planning, cited the strong demand on the housing market as the main reason why housing has become more expensive. The qualified rent index should give tenants and landlords legal certainty.
In the run-up, the owners' association Haus+Grund had criticized the newly determined average rent as not being in line with the market: it did not reflect reality. For Warnecke, this objection came as a surprise: the players in the housing market would have jointly agreed on an external expertise in a working group.
In principle, they had no objections to the methodology according to scientific standards. "If you accept the procedure, you also have to accept the result," commented committee chair Annette Schutze (SPD).
The city had sent out 18,000 questionnaires to tenants and landlords; a response rate of ten percent could be used as a basis for the survey – for Warnecke a good result compared to usual response rates. To achieve this, the questionnaire had been simplified this time around. After all, the more complicated the questions about bathroom fittings or residential location, for example, the lower the level of participation.
BIBS councilwoman Astrid Buchholz, however, sees this simplification as too rough a depiction of the housing situation. Thus one asks for binding to the public local traffic, but not for the clocking. Another example: Hamburger Strabe with its streetcar and large shopping market is an upscale residential location, Buchholz noted a "landlord-friendly tendency" in the criteria for determining the residential location. "I am surprised that Haus+Grund is not satisfied with that."
A good residential location can add 3.4 percent to the base rent. According to the current rent index, at least two of the following criteria must be met: a lot of greenery in the immediate vicinity, quiet location of the main rooms, shopping facilities or a bus or train connection. Streetcar stop up to 250 meters away. Irrespective of this, the inner city and Ringgebiet are considered good residential locations.
Surcharges and deductions on the 5.95 euro base rent are based not only on the location of the home but also on the home's furnishings, exterior wall insulation and modernization status.
For example, an upscale floor covering with underfloor heating or parquet flooring can cause the rent to rise by 6.7 percent. Landlords can add 13.2 percent if they provide their tenants with a fully equipped fitted kitchen. Simple heating equipment, on the other hand, leads to an increase of 5.7 percent, laminate or linoleum flooring 3.7 percent.
The rent index points out that rent prices in Braunschweig have developed differently since 2014, depending on the age and size of the apartments: The city accounts for the smallest rent increases in buildings built between 1970 and 1995. Even for apartments measuring 55 to 85 square meters, rents had risen at a below-average rate.
On the other hand, there have been significant increases in the construction years from 2010 onward. The deviations from older buildings are explained by the city administration as a result of better housing standards.
After the social committee has given the green light for the rent index, it will now be discussed in other council bodies. On 4. September it stands for the final decision in the council meeting on the agenda.