Non-Germans, Anmeldung, and Housing Rights

Speech at a recent Anmeldung für Alle conference


Hi everyone, we are from Right to the City, which is the English speaking working group of the Deutsche Wohnen & Co. Enteignen campaign to expropriate the city’s big landlords and socialize housing here in Berlin. 

We started Right to the City because it quickly became apparent that migrants face particular struggles of housing precarity. Our landlords take advantage of us by charging rents well over the market price and leverage other abuses on us because we are often still finding our footing in the completely different legal and linguistic context in this very special place we call Deutschland

We also established Right to the City to scandalize the fact that at least 25% of Berlin residents don’t even hold German passports, a necessary prerequisite to vote in the very referendum we were campaigning for. But we migrants are many, and we are determined to be a part of the struggle for housing justice anyway!

And we see the barriers to obtaining Anmeldung-secure living situations as yet another extension of these housing injustices in Berlin. In fact, the difficulties of accessing Anmeldung-possible housing are linked with many of the same issues we are combating through the DWE campaign. 

That’s because multinational corporations like Deutsche Wohnen and Vonovia control the housing market and make their profits by leeching off of us tenants, and these big landlords currently control at least 240,000 flats here in Berlin. They are instrumental in maintaining housing scarcity, hiking rents beyond affordability, discriminating against us migrants, and making it very difficult to secure long term contracts. 

So many of us are pushed into unstable living situations as subletters where Anmeldung is not possible, and increasingly, many more of us are on the brink of homelessness moving from one overpriced, short-term WG to another every couple of months. I’m sure we don’t even have to tell you what this stuff is like to go through, because we’re pretty much all living it! And we have long been thinking about how to address these forms of housing precarity, which is why we are so excited to be included in the planning stages of the Anmeldung für Alle campaign. 

We believe that DWE’s fight for expropriation and Anmeldung für Alle’s fight against these kinds of restrictive bureaucratic hurdles go hand in hand. We also know from DWE’s successful referendum campaign that we are most effective when we stand in the knowledge that we as tenants are united in a common struggle. 

And we will be most successful in taking back our city if we form coalitions that tackle the problem from different angles by mobilizing across all sectors of Berlin’s population – migrants included. Because we ALL have the power – and the right – to shape our city. 

That’s why we are happy to support the Anmeldung für Alle campaign! Thank you ❤️