According to a wide range of reports, some of them coming out of Germany, non of which we have been able to confirm but suspect they could be true, it’s being alleged that private homes are being confiscated by authorities in Hamburg, Germany to make up for a housing shortage as the country deals with overpopulation caused in part by more than two million extra people in the form of migrants.
City officials first started seizing commercial properties in 2015, turning them into migrant shelters to house hundreds of thousands of migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s opened German borders to them. Now the city is turning to residential property units owned by private citizens.
Authorities in Hamburg recently confiscated six residential units from a private landlord, which have been vacant since 2012. According to district spokeswoman Sorina Weiland, all renovation costs will be billed to the owner of the properties, and the properties will be rented to tenants chosen by the city.
The Hamburg Housing Protection Act (Hamburger Wohnraumschutzgesetz) gives the city the right to seize any residential property unit that has been vacant for more than four months.
City officials claim that this measure has been necessary to deal with the hundreds of new migrants arriving in Hamburg every day, stating that if the owners of vacant real estate wouldn’t offer up their properties to the city voluntarily, the city should have the right to take it by force.
“We are doing everything we can to ensure that the refugees are not homeless during the coming winter,” said Senator Till Steffen of the Green Party. “For this reason, we need to use vacant commercial properties.”
Calling confiscation of private land and buildings “a massive attack on the property rights of the citizens of Hamburg,” André Trepoll of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) added that the measure “amounts to an expropriation by the state” and is a “law of intimidation” that amounts to a “political dam-break with far-reaching implications.” He noted, “The ends do not justify any and all means.”
Authorities in Berlin were considering similar expropriation measures, but instead found them to be unconstitutional.
So far, no one has challenged the constitutionality of Hamburg’s expropriation law while Germans wonder what will happen next, fearing they may soon be forced to share their larger homes with strangers.
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