Berlin backs five-year rent freeze amid housing pressure
Berlin's left-wing government has approved a plan to freeze rents in the German capital for the next five years.
Rents have risen sharply in the city and there have been rallies urging the authorities to keep housing affordable.
The plan is expected to become law in January. It could apply to 1.4 million properties, but not to social housing - regulated separately - or new builds.
The average monthly rent for a furnished Berlin flat is about €1,100 (£983; $1,232).
An international comparison website, housinganywhere.com, reports that several major European cities are more expensive than Berlin for apartment rents, including Barcelona, Rotterdam and Milan.
Berlin rents however rose by 7% in the first quarter of this year, and in the past decade rents have doubled as the booming city has become a magnet for jobseekers.
The most expensive for rents in Europe is London: the Evening Standard reports that a typical two-bedroom flat in Southwark, near central London, costs £1,573 (€1,760; $1,970) a month.
The Berlin draft law, approved by the city's Senate, is being keenly watched across Germany, as there have been many complaints about housing costs elsewhere too, for example in Hamburg. The Berlin regional parliament still has to vote on it.
The left-wing Social Democrats (SPD), in power in Berlin, favour a national rent cap, but critics point out that the housing market varies considerably from one region to the next. Original Article from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-48677393