Social housing too pricey in cities

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For new renters, social housing in Utrecht and Amsterdam has become almost €100 more expensive in the last year. For low-income households, the available homes are more often unaffordable because of this, which has also risen eviction figures, the Volkskrant reports. 

These come from housing corporation association Aedes. Rent increase by more than €100 in the expensive housing market areas, in many cases to just under the social renting line, €699.

Housing corporations say that they have been forced to do this. They need the money to pay the extra taxes they have been demanded from the Realm; the landlord levy.

The rent hikes are extra high in Amsterdam and Utrecht, but also other expensive housing markets such as Den Bosch and Haarlem. More than one-thirds of new tenants in Utrecht is paying more rent than is justifiable, according to budget institute Nibud.

Figures from Aedes claim that the number of evictions rose by eight percent last year. In nine out of ten cases, rental debts are the cause of the evictions.

The PvdA is especially concerned about the figures. The party campaigns against the 'rent explosion' in the big cities, which make neighborhoods 'unreachable' for renters with low income. "All parties are locally fighting for affordable housing. The political parties who may have made the landlord levy, are also implicated. Because this levy leads to higher rentals", says Hans van Harten, director of the Amsterdam federation of Housing Associations.

PvdA frontrunner in utrecht, Gilbert Isabella, also alderman for housing, contradicts this. "Of course corporations are bothered by the landlord levy. But they also gave a lot of money to issues that don't belong to their main tasks. They can cut costs to their management."

The spokesperson for minister Blok (Public Housing, VVD) also thinks that corporations have more possibilities to compensate the landlord levy. "They can sell more personal property." The lowest incomes are, according to him, compensated by housing benefits.

The levy what the VVD-PvdA cabinet imposed on the corporations with support from ChristenUnie, SGP and D66, runs to €1.7 billion in 2017.

A large chunk of this tax is produced by the tenants. Existing tenants can, depending their income, receive a rental hike to four percent on top of inflation. With new tenants, the rent can spike up to the maximum at any point.

Director of the housing association Woonbond, Ronald Paping, is happy that the corporations share his worries about affordability. "It would be better, however, if the corporations don't heighten their rent so extremely."

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