Fine for illegal subletting increased to €83,000

Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs wants to prevent social housing from ending up with people who are not entitled to them. She is therefore sharply increasing the fine for illegal subletting, from over 20 thousand euros to 83 thousand euros, RTL Nieuws reports.

The Minister is amending the Housing Act to make the higher fines possible. Soon municipalities will be able to immediately impose a 20 thousand euro fine for a first offense. The fine can increase to 83 thousand euros for people repeatedly caught illegally subletting a social rental home. 

"If you abuse the fact that you have a social rental home that is intended for people with a low income, then I think you should experience the consequences of this and earn a hefty fine", Ollongren said. The result of illegal subletting is that home seekers eligible for social housing have to wait even longer for a home. "If you do this, you don't give other people on a waiting list the chance to move into a social rental home. That while you benefit from it yourself. I think that's unacceptable. Hence the higher fines."

Illegal subletting happens throughout the Netherlands, but is particularly a problem in Amsterdam's overheated housing market. Home seekers are sometimes asked to pay double or triple the official rent for a home, while the original occupant whose name is on the lease lives somewhere else. Social rental properties are also regularly rented out to tourists without the housing corporation's concent through platforms like Airbnb. 

A major problem in trying to track down illegal subletting, is the new privacy rules. New agreements must be made about exchanging data between different authorities. Minister Ollongren wants to help municipalities and housing corporations to get that exchange going again. 

The Minister also said that she will amend the Housing Act in such a way to make it easier for municipalities to get a grip on subletting to tourists. Municipalities will soon be able to require that all landlords request a unique registration number that must also be shown in advertisements. Municipalities will also be given the option of requiring landlords to request a permit for renting their home to tourists, and to oblige them to report such rentals. 

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