In an unprecedented move, Hamburg authorities recently confiscated six residential units in the Hamm district near the city center. The units, which are owned by a private landlord, are in need of repair and have been vacant since 2012. A trustee appointed by the city is now renovating the properties and will rent them — against the will of the owner — to tenants chosen by the city. District spokeswoman Sorina Weiland said that all renovation costs will be billed to the owner of the properties.
The expropriation is authorized by the Hamburg Housing Protection Act (Hamburger Wohnraumschutzgesetz), a 1982 law that was updated by the city’s Socialist government in May 2013 to enable the city to seize any residential property unit that has been vacant for more than four months.
The forced lease, the first of its kind in Germany, is said to be aimed at pressuring the owners of other vacant residences in the city to make them available for rent. Of the 700,000 rental units in Hamburg, somewhere between 1,000 and 5,000 (less than one percent) are believed to be vacant, according an estimate by the Hamburg Senate.
Socialists and Greens in Hamburg recently established a “hotline” where local residents can report vacant properties. Activists have also created a website — Leerstandsmelder (Vacancy Reporter) — to identify unoccupied real estate in Hamburg and other German cities.
It remains unclear why the landlord in Hamm left his apartments vacant for more than five years. Some have posited that, given the location of the properties, the renovation costs may have been too high and probably would not have been offset by the rental income.
Category Archives: law
This report from the Washington Post has to be fake news, because there is no way that any entity connected to the administration of President Donald J. Trump would attempt to draw Chinese immigrants into the US for their own personal financial benefit, given the president’s strong views on immigration and China. Right? Right?! Excerpts:
BEIJING — The Kushner family came to the United States as refugees, worked hard and made it big — and if you invest in Kushner properties, so can you.
That was the message delivered Saturday by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s sister Nicole Kushner Meyer to a ballroom full of wealthy Chinese investors in Beijing.
Over several hours of slide shows and presentations, representatives from the Kushner family business urged Chinese citizens gathered at a Ritz-Carlton hotel to consider investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a New Jersey luxury apartment complex that would help them secure what’s known as an investor visa.
The potential investors were advised to invest sooner rather than later in case visa rules change under the Trump administration. “Invest early, and you will invest under the old rules,” one speaker said.
The tagline on a brochure for the event: “Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States.”
I suppose, since they already own America, it’s only fair… 😉
Let us consummate the revolution! [Guest opinion.] I am a nice-looking, youngish high-school teacher (of English, if you must know), and almost every year at least one underage girl will make it clear to me that she would like to have sex with me. Or would like to do whatever this generation says isn’t sex, but which my father’s generation thought was.
I always turn these sweet offers down. I am not eager to lose my job and never be able to work in any school system again except in Thailand. I am not eager to lose my family. I am not eager to go to prison. I am not eager to spend my golden years with neighbors who are warned that a sex-criminal crouches slavering in their midst. And I am not eager to be questioned every time there’s an AMBER Alert.
But I do wonder … I am forbidden by law to enjoy the company of these girls in ways that would be — well, at least not illegal — in just a few short years. This strikes me as age-discrimination. And not only that, but I am required by law to engage in age-discrimination.
The girls are encouraged by law to engage in age-discrimination, since they may cavort freely with lads their own age who may be just using them for rough exploratory purposes, whereas I am gentle and experienced. They are deemed wise enough and mature enough to choose young partners, and (unbeknownst to their parents) to obtain medications and devices to support their cavorting, as well as (also unbeknownst to their parents) surgeries should the medications or devices fail or be left forgotten at a girlfriend’s home. But the law wishes them to discriminate against me. Solely on the basis of their age, they are deemed not to be wise enough or mature enough to cavort with me.
Surely, this is a situation that cannot long endure in our discrimination-sensitive age. Love equality will surely make its force felt soon. Perhaps someone from the Cato Institute will take the lead. None of us is getting any younger. [Arnold Zeck] Ω
Spot on, and funny. The laws regarding age of consent are not reason-based but purely emotion-based.
“Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy. The chains of tormented mankind are made out of red tape.” – attributed to Franz Kafka
A few days ago our legislators reached a tentative deal to fund the government through September; though the legislation has not been finalized and signed yet, the current agreement expires at the end of the week. Byron York reports that, like any 1,665-page bill, it’s stuffed with a lot of lawmakers’ pet priorities:
One of those priorities sure to cause controversy, if it becomes widely known, is a provision to greatly increase the number of temporary, low-wage foreign workers allowed into the United States. (In government-speak, “temporary” can mean a worker who spends up to nine months a year in the U.S. for multiple years.) The number of such workers is currently limited to 66,000 per year. Under the new spending bill, that could double.
It’s right there on page 735, in a section dealing with H-2B visas, which allow foreign workers to fill low-wage, seasonal, non-agricultural jobs in the United States. … “Notwithstanding the numerical limitation set forth [in the law],” the bill says, “the Secretary of Homeland Security, after consultation with the Secretary of Labor, and upon the determination that the needs of American businesses cannot be satisfied in fiscal year 2017 with United States workers who are willing, qualified, and able to perform temporary nonagricultural labor, may increase the total number of aliens who may receive a visa [under the H-2B law].”
In addition to increasing the number of H-2Bs, the new provision would remove some key protections for U.S. workers. In an email conversation, Michael Hancock, a former top official in the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division, said that at present, there is a requirement that U.S. workers in the same geographical area as H-2B workers “are entitled to at least as generous wages and terms of employment as H-2B workers.” The visa provision in the spending bill, Hancock said, “forbids the Department of Labor from enforcing this protection on behalf of U.S. workers.”
Never mind the wall; how about just NOT increasing the total number of low-skill foreigners present in America, and protecting American workers?
What about ‘America First’, huh?
Hey, unswayable Trump loyalists: Still not tired of being betrayed?
And yet there The Wall remains, stretching across the hazy top of Trump’s policy program, captivating his supporters, who continue to enthusiastically back its being built. More than just a symbol of Trump’s toughness on immigration, it’s also a metaphor for the evolution of the conservative base. Ideologically, The Wall is a synthesis of national-greatness conservatism and closed-doors nationalism, the sort of galvanizing construction project favored by David Brooks employed to achieve the ends of Steve Bannon. Its most unnatural bedfellow is small-state, Tea Party conservatism, which captivated the right for several years and generally frowns upon grand expenditures in times of record debt. The contradiction is hard to miss. Tea partiers shut down the government in 2013 over excessive spending on Obamacare; Trump threatened to shut down the government this year over an absence of spending on his wall.
President Donald Trump promised religious groups he would reverse the Obama administration’s requirement that employers provide birth control to their employees under the Affordable Care Act.
But his Justice Department indicated Monday that it’s continuing to fight religious groups who are suing over the contraception mandate.
Conservatives who oppose the birth control mandate on religious liberty grounds are bewildered by the move at a Justice Department headed by former Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who is well known for his conservative views.
And many had expected the Department of Health and Human Services, now led by another conservative, former representative Tom Price, R-Ga., to change the Obama administration’s underlying rule to fully exempt religious colleges, schools and charities from covering birth control. But HHS has not proposed any rule changes and didn’t respond to a request Monday about whether there are plans to do so.
As things stand now, it appears that Justice plans to continue defending the way the Obama administration applied the birth-control mandate, said Eric Rassbach, a Becket [Fund] attorney.
“That just seems to be very contrary to what they’ve been saying publicly,” Rassbach said.
Commentary at The Last Ditch:
Italy is on the verge of requiring employers to give their female employees paid leave for those days that the ladies are incommoded by their eerie, but somewhat regular, appointment with the moon.
I predict that once this becomes firmly entrenched in American society (by government regulation, of course), it will be only a matter of time — a short time at that — before workers refer to absent co-workers as having taken “a rag day.”
I further predict that it will be only a matter of time — a short time at that — before said workers will be fired for having said it. [Ronn Neff] Ω
And then, afterwards: demands for paid PMS leave, separate from regular sick leave, because it would be misogynistic to expect women to have to use up their regular sick leave time for PMS, of course. And if you disagree, you hate women; if you say it at work, you’ve created a hostile environment, and you’re fired.
Alabama takes the lead:
An Alabama bill that would abolish marriage licenses in the state, and effectively nullify in practice both major sides of the contentious national debate over government-sanctioned marriage, unanimously passed an important Senate committee last week.
Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Bay Minette) filed Senate Bill 20 (SB20) earlier this month. The legislation would abolish all requirements to obtain a marriage license in Alabama. Instead, probate judges would simply record civil contracts of marriage between two individuals based on signed affidavits.
“All requirements to obtain a marriage license by the State of Alabama are hereby abolished and repealed. The requirement of a ceremony of marriage to solemnized the marriage is abolished.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed SB20 9-0 on Feb. 23.
The proposed law would maintain a few state requirements governing marriage. Minors between the ages of 16 and 18 would have to obtain parental permission before marrying, the state would not record a marriage if either party was already married, and the parties could not be related by blood or adoption as already stipulated in state law.
Civil or religious ceremonies would have no legal effect upon the validity of the marriage. The state would only recognize the legal contract signed by the two parties entering into the marriage.
This is an excellent policy, and one which I have advocated since my WND days. The state does not define marriage. The state cannot define marriage. The state has never defined marriage; it is an institution that long precedes the state.
The state has the right to create whatever legal contractual relationships between whatever parties it likes, but those relationships are not marriage. The Alabama bill would clarify that, and would have the benefit of removing those whose marriages are religious in nature from the predations of the state’s divorce courts.
If conservatives want to save marriage, then this is a policy they should take to the national level.
I see the appeal of such a solution; it’s a way around giving in to the progs. Also, it would eliminate the system we have here in Canada where two people of the opposite sex who move in together are declared married according to ‘common law’ after six months or so of cohabiting, which I’ve never liked; why should two individuals who don’t want to get married either reap the benefits / suffer the negatives of legally being united.
Now, I don’t know what effect, in practice, such would have on how the courts would treat divorce, in terms of enforcing shared custody, alimony, division of assets, etc. I can imagine the possibility of legal chaos, flowing from such a change in legislation as this. Not sure, though.
For Alabamans’ (Alabamanians?) sake, if it passes, I hope the experiment goes well for them. Either way, hopefully it will be a decent test case.