According to advice centers, the tense housing market harbors an increasing debt risk for many households in Germany. At their annual meeting, the debt advisors are calling for a rethink.
DAccording to debt advisors, he tense housing market in many German cities could bring more and more households into payment difficulties. Even middle-income households could hardly build up reserves for unforeseen bills or repairs due to increased housing costs, said the Federal Working Group on Debt Counseling on Wednesday.
“The high housing costs themselves are a risk of over-indebtedness,” said managing director Ines Moers. “And people who already have debts are particularly disadvantaged.” At their annual conference in Erfurt, the board of directors and the regional council of the federal working group presented a series of demands to politicians and rental companies on Wednesday. Among other things, they would like the award of rent-linked, state-subsidized social housing no longer to be made dependent on the submission of information on creditworthiness.
“The biggest problem for over-indebted people on the housing market is that they don’t get anything as soon as they have a negative Schufa entry,” said Moers. In Germany, legal experts have been criticizing for years that Schufa entries are discriminatory three years after the end of private insolvency proceedings, even if they are marked with the note “discharge of residual debt”. In the first three years after the end of the insolvency proceedings, the person concerned hardly has a chance of being successful in looking for an apartment. According to experts, this is practically impossible, especially in metropolitan areas.
Another demand of the debt advisors at the annual conference in Erfurt was: If people whose income is seized apply for a housing entitlement certificate or housing benefit, the net income should not be taken into account, but the money still available after the seizure. According to information from the Federal Working Group, around 6 to 7 million people in Germany are over-indebted – that is, the payment obligations are in the long run higher than the income. Mostly it is unplanned life events that lead to over-indebtedness, said Moers. For example, illness, job loss or a divorce.
The federal debt counseling group mostly represents people who work for non-profit debt counseling centers in Germany. According to her, there are no statistics on all German households with rental debts. But surveys – for example by the German Caritas Association – show that many Germans are worried about high housing costs. In metropolitan areas in particular, the population’s dissatisfaction with rising rents is growing. In Berlin, for example, a referendum was launched to expropriate large housing groups.