Bremen: Rent caps for Hartz IV recipients until June 2021 were not legal



The rent ceilings for Hartz IV recipients in Bremen were not legal until the end of June.

Bremen – The data on which the calculations are based were not representative, the Bremen Social Court ruled in two judgments published on Friday. The Hanseatic city accepted the judgments and changed the calculations from July. (Az: S 22 AS 754/20 and S 70 AS 2145/19)

Since there is no qualified rent index for Bremen, the state had the net rents recorded and then calculated the rents that were “appropriate” under social law. The social court has now complained that the housing stock of the large housing associations was used almost exclusively. However, this only accounts for half of all apartments. The data basis is therefore not representative, and the calculations do not follow a “coherent concept”, as the Federal Social Court demands.

The city has since collected new data and tried to get a better response from private landlords through written and telephone inquiries. Nevertheless, these again only made up 3.1 percent of the rents recorded. The landlords have not yet been obliged to provide information, explained the Social Senate. For the new calculations, this has therefore been extrapolated to the proportion of private apartments of a good 50 percent.

The social court also complained that there was no uniform upper rent limit for the entire city until June 2021. Rather, there were surcharges for certain parts of the city. According to the Social Senate, this has now also been waived. However, this is problematic. The surcharges were intended to prevent “ghettoization” and concentration of Hartz IV recipients in individual parts of the city.

As a result of the recalculation, the “guideline values” for the basic rent increased significantly, for single people from 471 to 528 euros, for a family of four from 657 to 758 euros. If there is still a dispute about rental costs for the period from March 2017 to June 2021, according to the judgments that have already been finalized, the upper limits set by the city do not apply, but a calculation based on the housing benefit tables.

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