The rising energy costs as a result of inflation and the Ukraine war are a burden on poorer households in Germany. Associations warn that many of them could get into debt through additional payments and higher deductions. There are even threats of layoffs. Tenants should become active, and politicians can also help.
Several associations have warned against rent arrears due to high back payments due to the exploding energy costs. "Especially for households with low incomes, this will have a major financial impact," said the managing director of the federal debt counseling group, Ines Moers, to the newspapers of the Funke media group.
Poorer households often "used up what little they had saved" during the pandemic, says Moers. "You no longer have any reserves in case lavish additional payments come soon," she said, warning: "It will be extremely hard for these households." In addition to the additional payment for the annual statement, a higher monthly deduction for the subsequent period will be added later. "This will be a significant financial burden for many people," said Moers. She emphasized that the demand for help from debt counseling services had recently increased significantly.
Also the house owners association
The German Tenants' Association (DMB), meanwhile, called for help from the federal government. "More relief is needed, especially for households with below-average incomes, which at the same time often live in poorly insulated apartments," said André Juffern, head of the DMB for North Rhine-Westphalia. "The energy package only cushions the costs once and partially. The heating cost subsidy must be at least doubled," he told the "Rheinische Post". In addition, it must be ensured that the real costs are taken into account for Hartz IV recipients as part of the assumption of accommodation costs.
The debt expert Patrik-Ludwig Hantzsch from the credit agency Creditreform expected an increase in private bankruptcies because of the high prices. "In the coming months we will have immense problems with rising inflation, which will significantly exacerbate the over-indebtedness situation and will ensure more private bankruptcies," Hantzsch told the Funke newspapers. "The increase in the price of many products will claim victims."
Low wages, precarious workers and families with children would come under particular cost pressure. "Some will break their necks," said the economic researcher. Solo self-employed would also have significant problems. According to Hantzsch, more than three million households in Germany are currently over-indebted.