The verdict is delivered in front of an empty courtroom in Charlottenburg, Berlin, as if it has no implications for the rest of Germany. Judge Silke Kullmann hands down her decision about the potentially most important number in today’s overheated residential rental market.
“The court assumes that the rent index in dispute here has not been created based on scientific principles,” she says. In other words, the so-called Mietspiegel, the benchmark residential rent index that gives an idea of prices for all major German cities, is not applicable to this court case anymore.
The decision was handed down in November, but it might mark the end of peaceful relations between tenants and landlords in Germany.
What the district judge ruled in this case affects all 50 million tenants in Germany. And Berlin’s rent index was supposed to be the best in the country, a model for many other indices.