Cabinet must use more force to create more social housing: advice council
The central government must direct the construction of social rental housing by municipalities and housing corporations more aggressively to counteract the problems in the housing market. For example, the government must legally determine how many social rental homes must be built in relation to the total housing construction, the Council for the Living Environment and Infrastructure (RLI) said in advice to the Cabinet.
According to the RLI, there are currently “serious problems” regarding the availability of affordable housing. The advisory council expects that the role of housing associations will become more important in the coming years because “the need for affordable housing is growing and their supply is decreasing, especially that of commercial providers.” So the social housing stock must grow significantly.
To make this possible, Minister Hugo de Jonge for Housing and Spatial Planning, among others, must be able to hold both municipalities and corporations to account for improving their performance, the RLI wrote in the advice.
Municipalities must determine where social and affordable housing will be built in their environmental plans. And when selling land, they must be obliged to set requirements for the realization of social housing. In this way, developers and investors know better where they stand.
The Cabinet must also abandon the plan to give tenants the right to buy their social housing, and housing corporations must be encouraged to purchase more homes, the RLI said. Other organizations than the housing corporations must also get a more significant role in social housing. The RLI is particularly thinking of non-profit organizations, like philanthropic organizations or housing cooperatives.
The housing corporations’ umbrella organization Aedes said it “completely agrees’ that the central government should give high priority to social housing. “We have been insisting for some time that the central government should take more control in this, and the RLI is in line with this,” said chairman Martin van Rijn.
Aedes just disagrees with the RLI proposal to oblige housing corporations to help each other financially if they have difficulty meeting their targets. According to Van Rijn, housing corporations can find a solution themselves if one unexpectedly finds itself in financial distress.
Reporting by ANP