U.S. investor Blackstone accused of keeping hundreds of Amsterdam apartments vacant
The American private equity firm and real estate investment business, Blackstone, left 334 apartments in Amsterdam empty for months on end, AT5 reported. Blackstone filed a vacancy notification for 328 addresses in June after squatters took over one of the empty apartments. Six apartments had already been reported empty earlier.
SP asked for clarification after it became known that squatters lived in one of the apartments on the Sint Willibourdusstraat in the Amsterdam neighborhood De Pijp.
“Given the housing shortage in Amsterdam, the council finds it socially unacceptable to leave houses vacant for an extended time”, Alderman for Housing Rutger Groot Wassink wrote in response to the SP’s questions. “It is a duty to use the apartments for what they are meant for, which is living.”
The squatters who lived in the apartment said the place had been “rotting away for years”.
SP faction leader Erik Flentage was disturbed by the discovery “328 apartment reported empty at one time. How is that possible? Why so many? Were they all being refurbished? And it’s unclear how many more are still empty. At the same time, thousands of people are looking for an apartment”, Flentage tweeted.
Real estate owners are required to report to the municipality if an apartment has been empty for more than six months. Rembrandt Propco, the Dutch daughter company of Blackstone filed a vacancy notification for the property that was occupied by squatters in June 2021, eleven months after they acquired the property. The previous owner had also filed a vacancy notification in January 2020. No action was taken after either of the reports.
“Due to the coronavirus crisis and the lockdown, the appointment was unable to go through”, Groot Wassink wrote.
Groot Wassink said plans have been made to make the apartments habitable as soon as possible.
It was not known if the 334 apartments have been occupied in the meantime. Establishing an overview is complicated due to Blackstone’s properties being divided over multiple daughter companies.
The municipality will also question Rembrandt Propco why they reported 328 apartments empty in one go.
328 leegstaande panden gemeld, in één keer. Hoe bestaat het? Waarom zo veel, worden die allemaal opgeknapt? En nog onduidelijk is hoeveel meer panden leeg staan.— Erik Flentge (@ErikFlentge) August 27, 2021
Let wel, duizenden mensen zijn op zoek naar een woning. (3)