Agreement: Limits to social housing rent increase approved

Rent prices for most social housing will increase less sharply from next year. Aedes, the association for housing corporations which represents about 90 percent of the corporations in the Netherlands, and Woonbond, the association for tenants, have reached an agreement to increase rents with less than the current legal maximum.

The two associations announced the agreement on Wednesday. The agreement, which still has to be approved by Aedes and Woonbond members, will be in effect from 2016 to 2018, but has the option to be extended to 2020.

It was agreed that the corporations' total social housing rent - all the rents added together - can not increase more than the inflation rate plus 1 percent in the coming years. Rent increases will also be linked more to the quality of the property instead of the current system of linking it to the tenant's income.

"Tenants and corporations are giving the politics a clear signal about the rental policy. Together we have taken the lead to provide good, affordable housing for our tenants, now and in the future." Aedes chairman Marc Calon said.

"This is a good step to curb the massive rent increases of recent years; that is good news for tenants with low incomes, who have had an increasing problem with affordability. Moreover, we are moving on to a better system, with which we will discuss the shaping of the rental policy with tenants organizations." said Ronald Paping, director of Woonbond.

Minister Stef Blok of Housing said that he noted the agreement reached with interest and that he is positive about the fact that housing corporations are focusing on affordability, NOS reports. Blok first wants to study the agreement before he makes further comments.

The Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, will discuss the housing policy with Minister Blok on Thursday. This agreement between Aedes and Woonbond will also be discussed.