Dutch state sued over rent increases

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Tenants association Woonbond is suing the Dutch state to refund hundreds of thousands of renters for "unjustified rent increases". According to the association, the tax authorities illegally shared tenants' information with landlords for years, which resulted in higher rent increases, RTL Nieuws reports.  From 2013 all tenants with a gross annual income of 33,600 euros or higher received an income related rent increase. That involves hundreds of thousands of tenants. The tax Authorities sent income details about these tenants to housing associations and private landlords for this reason. But the Tax Authorities were not allowed to do so, according to Woonbond. "The Council of State already made a ruling stating that this was illegal", Woonbond director Ronald Paping said to the broadcaster. An legislative amendment was made in April 2016 following the Council's ruling. But even under the new law it is illegal to provide that information, according to Woonbond, because the Tax Authorities shared Basic Income data to landlords. While this information may only be passed on to government bodies. "Time after time, the privacy of tenants was stepped on." The income information resulted in hefty rent increases for some tenants. From 2013 households with an annual income of 43,000 euros or higher could count on an increase of inflation plus 3 percent. Woonbond estimates the damage to tenants to be around 365 million euros, covering almost half a million people. The association hopes to recover this amount in a lawsuit against the Dutch states and housing associations Aedes, IVN and Vastgoed Belang.