Right of first refusal: Minister of Construction Geywitz creates problems with a bill

Minister of Construction Klara Geywitz (SPD)
picture alliance / Geisler-Fotopress | Frederic Kern / Geisler-Fotopress

The construction ministry of Klara Geywitz (SPD) wants to facilitate the purchase of houses by the municipalities to limit the increase in rents.

Business Insider has a bill that is now causing problems within the traffic light coalition.

Sandra Weeser (FDP), chairman of the construction committee, accuses the construction ministry of not sticking to the agreements and failing to provide convincing arguments.

The construction ministry of Klara Geywitz (SPD) wants to strengthen the municipal right of first refusal. This emerges from a draft law available to Business Insider. It allows communities to buy homes in certain areas with a tight real estate market, so-called environmental protection areas, instead of private investors. In the past, Berlin and Munich, for example, used the right of first refusal if they suspected that other buyers wanted to raise prices with luxury renovations. Proponents of the right of first refusal argue that municipalities can curb rent increases or land speculation.

But with the proposal Geywitz caused problems for the coalition, especially from the FDP there was criticism. Sandra Weeser (FDP), chairman of the building committee of the Bundestag, accuses the ministry of working dirty: “In the interests of municipalities and citizens, completeness must take priority over speed. A tool has to be made of solid material or it becomes dangerous to use, “she told Business Insider.

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With the bill, the Geywitz ministry reacts to a court ruling in November 2021, which at the time was in the midst of coalition negotiations. The Federal Administrative Court had decided that the pre-emption rule in force until then was only applicable to a limited extent, for example if a house was neglected or left empty. The now available bill provides for more comprehensive pre-emption rights. If a private buyer wants to avoid this, they should commit to recognizing the environmental protection statute for up to 20 years. He must accept, for example, not to carry out luxury renovations.

Sandra Weeser (FDP) is chairman of the building committee of the Bundestag

Sandra Weeser (FDP) is chairman of the building committee of the Bundestag
image alliance / photo library | Felix Zahn

FDP politician Weeser feels overwhelmed by this proposal: “In the coalition agreement it was agreed to jointly examine whether (!) The Federal Administrative Court ruling resulted in the need for legislative action.” , she says. Even a study presented by an authority of the Ministry of Construction, which serves to justify the new proposal, does not enter the motivation of the sentence. Weeser criticizes the fact that the document does not provide any scientifically based knowledge that the previous application of the right of first refusal prevented the crowding-out in the theses real estate markets at all.

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The German Association of Cities, on the other hand, supports the Geywitz project. “The right of first refusal is one of the most important land policy tools to ensure affordable housing offers in certain areas,” explained the managing director of the city association, Helmut Dedy. Cities and communities should be granted a global right of first refusal in so-called environmental protection areas.

The debate on the right of first refusal will continue next week, when there will be a hearing of experts on the subject in the Bundestag.

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