Discussion with owners of holiday homes in the Allgäu: hate speech or necessity?

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Of: Catherine Knoll

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423 holiday homes are currently registered in Neuried. A fee may be charged by their owners in the future. © Panthermedia / nnudoo

Füssen – Is the second housing tax unfair? The association “Friends for Holidays in Bavaria” has now discussed this issue with Mayor Eichstetter (CSU).

Like many other municipalities at the foot of the Alps, the city of Füssen also charges a different housing tax. And she recently raised it from 15 to 20 percent of net cold rent.

Cars with foreign license plates that have been peeled with eggs and scratched, or owners of holiday homes who no longer dare say where they come from in the supermarket. Josef Butzmann, chairman of the association “Friends for Holidays in Bavaria”, is familiar with such cases. He is convinced that many second home owners have been unfairly pillaged due to political mistakes in recent years. He even talks about hate speech.

And take a look at the past: While Prime Minister Franz Josef Strauss wanted to prevent money from migrating abroad with a ban on second homes, Bavarian municipalities since 2004 have had the option of charging them. Whether they do it or not is a matter for the communities alone, Butzmann emphasizes. In his view, however, the statutes used for this purpose are all illegal because there is no comprehensible, transparent basis for assessment. Instead, estimates are used.

To present their views, the interest group requested a meeting with Mayor Eichstetter, to which the press was also invited. And the leader of the town hall actually agreed, as the only mayor in all of Bavaria, that Butzmann emphasized.

There is a lack of living space

But that did not change the fact that the mayor had a clear position: “I support the second home tax!” He stressed: “In principle, we have nothing against people who have another home.” It’s there! they support local trade by acting locally. However, their number must be limited. And now there are just too many. “We have a massive deficit in accessible living space, especially affordable,” added Armin Angeringer, head of the building authority.

The housing needs analysis from 2020 has shown that in 2025 there will be a shortage of 387 flats in Lechstadt (reported the city council). “It’s quite a lot for a city like Füssen.” In addition, the municipality has very little free space to designate new construction areas. “The extent of demand will not be covered by this alone.” On the other hand, there are over 1000 holiday homes in Füssen. If these were available in the free housing market, “demand would be met,” says the head of the building authority.

The second homeowner is legally treated worse than the first homeowner. “

For Butzmann, this is not a conclusive argument. After all, there is a housing shortage throughout Bavaria. “Bavaria is basically overcrowded because of the influx, and it has an effect everywhere and not just on tourist sites.” Nesselwang municipality has found a good solution. Those who want to build will only get a building permit there if they use their building as their primary residence for 15 years. If you cancel earlier, you will have to pay later.

“We will do the same with new residential areas,” Eichstetter announced. Only when houses are sold privately can the municipality do nothing. And in Füssen, there is a lack of special living space for locals: 104 interested people applied for eight building plots, which the administration had recently put up for sale, the town hall manager gave an example. And they were all local.

No dispensation possible

In addition, the heavily indebted municipality has no choice but to levy a second home tax. “We must not dispense with this income under municipal law,” Angeringer explained. “The Ostallgäu district office sent a clear message: the city of Füssen cannot do without the revenue it can collect.” Eichstetter emphasized that the city has high costs – among other things for its infrastructure, which the owners of other houses also use.

“The other homeowner has all the benefits that the locals also have.” Only the latter pay with their income and trade tax that, for example, public spaces continue to be maintained. The other homeowner does not, which is why he has to make his contribution through the second home tax. Compared to other European countries, the situation in Lechstadt is moderate, the leader of the town hall emphasized.

The municipality uses the qualified rent index, which it had made in 2020, as a basis for the assessment. For 460 square meters, another homeowner in Lechstadt pays 1100 euros in tax per year. “In my opinion, it should be 10 to 15 percent higher so that we can roughly achieve the ratio of what the local does to the infrastructure compared to what the other homeowner does.”

“I can follow you,” said Nikolaus Ertl of Friends for Holidays in Bavaria. For him, the lack of housing space for the locals is the result of a failed housing policy.

However, he found it unfair that second home owners in some municipalities have to pay tourist tax in addition to the second home tax, but in return have nothing to say about the development in this municipality. “Whoever gives money to a municipality must also have a say. The second homeowner is legally treated worse than the first homeowner, ”Ertl criticized. The other homeowners would have the feeling that they are only being asked to pay.

“We can not change anything about the right to vote, it is a federal matter. We are the wrong people to talk to,” Eichstetter opposed. invite owners of holiday homes to the town hall meeting. “If we are allowed to do so, then owners of holiday homes are of course also very welcome.”

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