Housing crisis: German Left Party suggests pensioners and families swap flats

Housing crisis: German Left Party suggests pensioners and families swap flats

Amid the worst housing shortage in 20 years, Germany is scrambling for an answer before the problem continues to grow. Now, the Left Party (die Linke) is suggesting that older people and families organise house swaps to reckon with the nationwide problem.

Die Linke suggests older people and families organise house swaps

After a new study was published on Monday, revealing the extent to which older people and pensioners in Germany are affected by the housing crisis, die Linke have new suggestion as to how the German government could aid the growing problem.

According to reports by SPIEGEL, die Linke politician Caren Lay, who is the spokesperson for the party’s policy on rent, construction and housing, would like to rework rental rights law to include a policy whereby senior citizens and families could swap accommodation.

“This way, senior citizens can move into a smaller house without it meaning that they would have to pay more rent,” said Lay.

Left Party want Germany to follow Viennese renting model

“The impending housing shortage for senior citizens is alarming and shameful for a rich country,” Lay added. “This is where an inactive housing policy and an incorrect pension policy take revenge." 

The die Linke policy on housing pushes towards revitalising socialisation to keep rents down, similar to the model that exists in Vienna. A recent study by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, affiliated with die Linke, found that rents in Berlin would decrease by 16 percent if houses were expropriated from private landlords.

Lay says that the German government’s current subsidy rate is not sufficient to face up to the country’s housing crisis. “Instead of the nearly 3 million in funding so far, at least 15 million euros is necessary to provide housing to middle and low-income earners," Lay told SPIEGEL.

According to the Monday-released Pestel Institute report on the housing crisis and its impact on senior citizens, the number of older people in Germany that will become dependent on the social security system for part of their income is expected to increase dramatically in the next five years.

Thumb image credit: YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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