Zaanstad to ban trouble-making renters from problem neighborhoods

Dutch police at a crime scene (Stock Photo: Politie)Dutch police at a crime scene (Stock Photo: Politie)

Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs gave the municipality of Zaanstad permission to ban known trouble-makers and people with a criminal record from renting homes in the problem neighborhoods of Poelenburg and Peldersveld. According to the municipality, this selection policy is the only way to improve the quality of life in these neighborhoods, Het Parool reports.

Almost 20 percent of all burglaries committed in Zaanstad happen in Poelenburg and Peldersveld. The number of car thefts is also disproportionately high. The neighborhoods house many low-income households, the number of welfare benefits is increasing much faster than in other parts of the municipality, and there are problems with housing fraud and drug trafficking, according to the newspaper. 

In order to steer these neighborhoods towards a "balanced population composition", Zaanstad can use the Law on special measures for metropolitan issues, Ollongren decided.

In practice this means that Zaanstad can refuse rental housing in these neighborhoods to people who are known to the police and have repeatedly caused serious problems, as well as people with a criminal record. Instead, the municipality will give priority to people with a diploma. Zaanstad also plans to give priority to new residents with income from non-commercial services, like teachers, police officers, nurses and civil servants. 

Zaanstad is not the first municipality to make use of this law, according to the newspaper. Rotterdam was the first to do so in five neighborhoods in 2006. Since then Tilburg, Vlaardingen, Den Bosch and Schiedam also made use of the law.