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A German Village Has Kept Its Rent at $1 a Year Since 1520

For a single dollar a year, you can live in the Fuggerei apartment complex in Augsburg, Germany.

The Fuggerei apartment complex in Germany.
The Fuggerei in Germany has never increased rent in over 500 years. Credit: Shutterstock/Massimo Santi

For a single dollar a year, you can live in the Fuggerei apartment complex in Augsburg, Germany.

Built in 1520, the Fuggerei hasn’t ever raised its rent for its current or past residents. The original tenants of the complex were charged one Rhenish gulden, which converts to just a single dollar today.

The housing complex was established by Jakob Fugger “the Rich” and contained 52 cottages and 106 apartments. The complex has now been expanded to 67 two story buildings containing 140 apartments.

Each apartment is between 500-700 square feet large with a sitting room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom. With gardens for those on the bottomfloor and attics for those on the top.

Jakob Fugger, one of the richest financiers in history, created the complex as a means to give back to the less fortunate.

Fugger wanted to create a community for the poor and religious, which is why most of the original residents were laborers and craftsmen. Though now the Fuggerei’s main residents are the elderly (with residents being required to be over 60 to live there).

The Difficulties of Becoming a Resident

While the incredibly cheap rent and humble apartments may sound appealing, getting an apartment for yourself is a bit of a task.

Firstly, the Fuggerei currently has eighty names on its waiting list, which spans around four years.

Secondly, living in the complex requires you to be a devout Catholic and participate in the three daily prayers (the Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary, and the Nicene Creed).

Residents must also contribute to the community by working jobs like gardener or night watchman.

The night watchman enforces the daily curfew from 1523 even today. If residents wish to enter after the gates close at 10pm they must pay an entry fee of .50 euro cents. The fee increases after 12am to 1 euro.

For anyone curious enough about the apartment complex, tours are available for a fee of $4 (4 times more than the residents’ rent!).

You can visit museums which feature an unoccupied apartment and the complex’s WWII bunker.

Around 200,000 people visit the complex annually, making it the area’s most popular tourist attraction.

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Hi! I'm a 2nd year journalism and Welsh student at Cardiff University. I'm passionate about my home language - Welsh - politics, and sci-fi novels!

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