Minister: block troublemakers, extremists from certain housing

Municipalities should have the capability to deny house seekers with a history of crime, causing serious disturbances or recruiting for extremist organizations access from certain rental housing in areas with livability problems.

This is according to a legislative proposal that VVD Minister Stef Blok of Housing sent to the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, on Monday morning, NRC reports. This proposal is an extension to the Law Special Measures Metropolitan Issues, which has been in effect since the end of 2005. This law gives municipalities the opportunity to set income requirements to house hunters or give specific groups, such as those with a higher education, priority in the allocation of rental homes in certain districts and neighborhoods.

Blok's new proposal goes further and gives municipalities the power to refuse people with a criminal or extremist history. Municipalities will be able to ask house hunters for a Certificate of Good Behavior or ask the police for information on the house hunter to get a picture of his or her past behavior. They will not be able to get a house hunter's complete records from the police, but can give the police a list of problems to check for in their data. Municipalities can nominate a street, complex or district to the Minister to prevent that a problematic area is faced with even more problems. If Blok consents, the law can be in effect in the neighborhood, initially for four years.

The Minister first proposed an amendment to the Law in 2013, but was shot down by the Council of State. The Council decided that the resources used in the proposal were "too severe and disproportionate in relation to the gravity of the problems".

The legislative proposal was accepted by the Council of Ministers on Friday, but still has to be treated by the Eerste Kamer, Senate, and Tweede Kamer.

This law is also known as the Rotterdam Act, because the municipality then insisted on legal options because of issues surrounding the quality of life in certain neighborhood. Rotterdam is currently the only municipality to be using this law in five districts - Tarwewijk, Hillesluis, Carnisse, Oud-Charlois and Bleomhof, as well as on some streets in Delfshaven.

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