Change in law: consumer insolvencies in Berlin and Brandenburg increased sharply in 2021

change in law

Consumer insolvencies in Berlin and Brandenburg increased sharply in 2021


Bild: imago images

In Berlin, twice as many consumers filed for bankruptcy in 2021 as in the previous year. In Brandenburg, the number has increased by more than half. A corona effect cannot be seen – rather the effects of a change in the law.

The number of consumer insolvency proceedings in Berlin and Brandenburg rose sharply in 2021 compared to the previous year, according to figures from the Berlin-Brandenburg Statistics Office. In 2020, there were initially fewer insolvency proceedings than in previous years.

What is striking about the increase in insolvency proceedings is that a particularly large number of consumers are affected. In Berlin, the number of those affected by insolvencies almost doubled in 2021, in Brandenburg it was more than half. While in Brandenburg it was mainly people in the cities that were hit, in Berlin it was primarily the north-eastern outskirts that were affected.

Connection with Corona not recognizable

According to the Berlin-Brandenburg Statistics Office, there is no discernible connection between the increased number of insolvency proceedings and the corona pandemic. The effects of changed economic conditions on insolvency events can therefore only be observed in the statistics with a considerable time lag. The reason for this is, among other things, the legally stipulated process, which initially prescribes an out-of-court settlement attempt in the case of simplified insolvency proceedings, as well as the regular processing time for applications before the insolvency court proceedings are opened.

Change in law as a reason

A possible reason for the decline in insolvency proceedings in 2020 and the subsequent increase in 2021 is likely to be a change in the law in December 2020. Thanks to this, over-indebted consumers can be freed from their remaining debts after three years instead of the previous six.

bankruptcies in Berlin

In Berlin in 2021, a total of 4,527 insolvency proceedings were filed against “other debtors” – i.e. not against companies. That was 2,022 procedures or around four fifths more than in the previous year, said the Berlin-Brandenburg Statistics Office on Friday. The outstanding receivables had a value of 449 million euros – 38.1 percent more than in the previous year. In 2020, the claims were still 325.2 million euros.

“Other debtors” are partners, formerly self-employed persons, consumers as well as estates and common property.

Of the procedures applied for, 4,369 were actually opened. 116 cases were dismissed for lack of assets because the debtors’ assets were not sufficient to cover the costs of the proceedings. 42 procedures ended with the acceptance of a confirmed debt settlement plan.

According to the Berlin-Brandenburg Statistics Office, most of the procedures were opened in Marzahn-Hellersdorf and Lichtenberg, and very few in Pankow, Steglitz-Zehlendorf and Tempelhof-Schöneberg.

Insolvencies in Brandenburg

In the state of Brandenburg, a total of 3,295 insolvency proceedings were filed against “other debtors” in 2021 – 1,120 proceedings and a good half more than in the previous year, according to the Berlin-Brandenburg Statistics Office. The outstanding receivables increased by 63.3 percent to 239.2 million euros compared to the previous year.

According to the four Brandenburg district courts, 3,234 of the requested procedures were opened. In 54 cases, the debtor’s assets were not sufficient to cover the costs of the proceedings, so that the case was dismissed for lack of assets. Seven procedures ended with a confirmed debt settlement plan.

According to rbb calculations based on the figures from the statistics office, most procedures in Brandenburg per 100,000 inhabitants were opened in Brandenburg an der Havel, Cottbus and Ostprignitz-Ruppin, the fewest in Potsdam-Mittelmark, Teltow-Fläming and Dahme-Spreewald.

Especially consumers affected

It is striking that both in Berlin and in Brandenburg the number of consumers affected by insolvency rose sharply from 2020 to 2021.

According to Berlin district courts, 3,573 people were affected by insolvency in 2021 – 1,769 more and almost twice as many as in the previous year. Their debts also doubled to 167.2 million euros. The average debt per consumer remained almost at the level of the previous year at around EUR 46,800.

The number of consumers in Brandenburg affected by insolvency increased from 1,692 in 2020 to 2,648 people in 2021. Their debts doubled to a total of 108.2 million euros. The average debt per consumer in the state of Brandenburg was around EUR 40,900, significantly higher than in the previous year (EUR 32,100).