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Berlin Germany Europe Berlin housing activists lead campaign to fight rising rents

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BERLIN  — Low-cost housing advocates are launching a grassroots campaign to force Berlin’s state government into taking over nearly 250,000 apartments worth billions from corporate owners to fight rising rents in one of Germany’s hottest real estate markets.

The fight pits two philosophies against one another: free-market companies that see real estate as a means to profit, and housing activists who see affordable rent not only as a necessity but as central to the city’s character. Its prospects are uncertain at this early stage and a resolution will take years, but the successes of other such campaigns have shown the strength of social activists.

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