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Referendum against real estate groups: Berlin initiative collects almost 350,000 signatures for expropriations

Berliners will probably be able to vote on the expropriation of large real estate companies in a referendum on September 26th.

The citizens' initiative "Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen & Co." has collected 349,658 signatures in the past four months according to its own information. They advocates "socializing" real estate companies with more than 3,000 apartments, ie expropriating them for billions in compensation. However, the Senate would not be obliged to draft a corresponding law.

Around 175,000 valid signatures are required for the referendum. That corresponds to seven percent of Berlin's eligible voters. The state returning officer announced on Friday that 260,708 signatures had been checked. 175,782 of them are valid. "The required quorum should therefore be achieved with the signatures checked so far." The final result will be announced in early July.

According to the ideas of the initiative, around 240,000 apartments in the capital are to be transferred to an institution under public law and managed for the common good. The aim is to make a contribution to stop the further increase in rents in Berlin.

The success of the collection of signatures shows that a lot of Berliners want affordable living space in common ownership, said Jenny Stupka, a spokeswoman for the initiative on Friday. "Berliners do not allow themselves to be fobbed off with symbolic politics." The FDP and CDU again spoke out clearly against the initiative's plans on Friday. The SPD and its top candidate Franziska Giffey also reject the initiative.

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