The coming winter will be very expensive for German citizens, food and energy prices will rise to astronomical heights. The German Tenants’ Association is now warning: “Millions of tenants will not be able to pay their heating costs.” Meanwhile, the traffic light government is not only not creating any relief, but is even causing further burdens. What happens when millions of citizens stop paying? The tenants’ association already wants to make provisions and prevent electricity and gas cuts in the event of insolvency.
The exploding energy prices as a result of the gas crisis could mean that a third of the German population can no longer pay their energy bills. “That’s a hell of a lot of people,” said Tenant Association President Lukas Siebenkotten to the Tagesspiegel. The threat of insolvency primarily affects people whose income is only just above state aid. “We’re talking millions here” so Siebenkotten.
The tenants’ association therefore demands measuresto deal with the emergency. The housing benefit needs to be reformed. “You would have to significantly increase the income limits for people who can claim housing benefit,” said Siebenkotten. He sees the limit at a net household income of 5,000 euros, and an annual flat rate for heating costs and a climate component should also be built into the housing allowance. Chancellor Olaf Scholz recently announced a reform of housing benefits.
A moratorium on evictions would be needed to protect tenants who are unable to pay energy bills from evictions, as would a two-year debt deferral. There are also calls for a ban on electricity and gas cut-offs in the event of tenant insolvency, as well as the suspension of CO2 pricing in the rental housing sector. A statutory gas price cap could also prevent end customer prices from rising immeasurably.
The relief measures demanded by the German Tenants’ Association may at least partially offer good approaches – for example, a gas price cap is long overdue. But how should things continue in Germany if millions of citizens no longer pay their energy costs? The government itself has not announced any measures so far, apart from a further burden on gas customers through the gas surcharge. Instead, new, absurd demands for saving energy are hailed almost every day. So the citizen should restrict himself because the government has failed. The traffic light, which has been in office for less than a year, has managed to massively worsen the living conditions of a large part of the population in record time. The insane price increases are driving more and more people into existential difficulties. But at least the Greens were finally able to fulfill their long-awaited dream of unaffordable energy prices. It is more than questionable whether the population can still hope for meaningful relief from those in power who are responsible for the energy crisis themselves.