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Iraqi refugee family living rent-free in German apartment worth $8,355 U.S. dollars a month

A group of refugees are arriving in Zakany, Hungary, on their way to Germany. The influx of refugees is creating a housing shortage and that's driving up prices in Germany. (csakisti/Getty Images)

An Iraqi refugee family with six children is living in a Cologne, Germany, apartment priced at 6800 euros — or about $8,355  — a month and the city is paying for it, according to published reports.

The size of the apartment is just 35 square meters, or about 375 square feet, the Voice of Europe reported.

In essence, the influx of refugees is creating a housing shortage and that's driving up prices. To meet the demand, Cologne’s Housing Department has booked other expensive houses and hotels, according to the report.

How high is the demand?

Josef Ludwig of the city’s Housing Department told the media: “What else could I do? At that time we made contracts with the arrival of the many refugees and booked 40 hotels with 3,000 places. Now we are still at 2,250 places. We simply did not have apartments available, especially not for large families.”

A social worker said the worst part is that the housing is not even adequate.

“The real scandal is that the family is not even housed decent," said Thorsten Kleinöder, a social worker. "The eight person’s conditions there are catastrophic. Especially since the woman is pregnant. There is only one table for four; in the morning everyone should be ready for school at the same time and nobody can sleep properly at night and then the city will pay 6,800 euros for it.”

Are landlords getting rich from this?

The demand for refugee housing has turned some landlords into millionaires, the Voice of Europe reported.

“One large building in the Rheinaustraße houses 157 refugees for which the city pays 28 euros per person on daily rent,” the report said. “The landlord collects almost 4,400 euros rent per day or 1.6 million per year.”

According to DW.com, a German news agency, the number of refugees coming into the country was 186,644 in 2017, compared to about 280,000 in 2016. In 2015, an estimated 890,000 refugees arrived in Germany.

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