Homeowners’ associations struggle to make sustainable changes
Homeowners' associations might be especially challenged in their efforts to make Dutch homes more sustainable, according to the NOS. This is due in part to the structure of houses with homeowners' associations, where there is a shared responsibility among residents to vote on and implement changes.
To decide on a normal building improvement with the homeowners' association, there must be a 50 percent plus one vote majority. However, for sustainability decisions, two-thirds of members must attend the meeting and vote in favor of the change. In addition to this hurdle, many residents may lack the resources to pay for sustainable improvements and subsidies are also limited, according to the NOS.
"You have to pay for everything together, and execute it together," Kees Oomen of the VvE Belang association told the NOS. "That 'together' makes it complicated."
Higher energy bills are also making it difficult for residents to finance sustainability measures, according to the NOS. This is despite the fact that many of these measures could lower energy costs in the long run. At a meeting, there could be "someone who yells, 'you're going to make a decision here tonight whether I can stay here or not, because I'm really surviving here,'" said Michel Kerpel, director of management and consultancy firm FOCUS Vastgoed.
In Oomen's opinion, sustainability measures need to be treated like normal improvements and require only a majority of 50 percent plus one vote. However, this could leave behind some residents who are unable to pay the higher costs. Experts also told the NOS that the government should make subsidy schemes and loans more accessible to homeowners' associations.