Dutch housing assoc. select tenants based on race, body odor: report


Housing association De Voorzorg in Hoensbroek discriminated against potential tenants between 2013 and 2016, according to forensic investigation by Integis. When talking to potential tenants, the housing association looked at things like race, appearance, health, sexual orientation, religion, ex-partners, hobbies and even body odor, and this played a role in the allocation of housing, NOS reports.

According to Integis, there are indications that there was "a serious violation of transparent and fair housing allocation". How many people fell victim to this discrimination is unclear, as no record was kept about it.

De Voorzorg informed the Public Prosecutor about the abuses after legal advice. The Prosecutor is still considering whether the association will face criminal prosecution. 

An interim director took over De Voorzorg early last year. He already implemented the first measures against these kinds of abuses in May last year, after a critical report from watchdog Authority Housing Corporations. 

The current managers of De Voorzorg are shocked by the outcome of Integis' investigation. The housing association would like to distance itself from the discriminating practices and the 'culture of fear' that prevailed under previous management. Last year an improvement plan was drawn up. Former house hunters who feel they were disadvantaged are invited to report to De Voorzorg.

The former director of De Voorzorg, who reported sick early in 2017, denies that there was any discrimination. He did not cooperate in the investigation and told De Limburger that he knows nothing about the Integis report. 

De Voorzorg owns over 3,300 homes in Heerlen, Hoensbroek and Brunssum.