Amsterdam to fine landlords up to €9,000 for covertly keeping homes vacant
Amsterdam is taking a harsher stance on the long-term vacancy of homes and plans to fine landlords up to 9,000 euros for not getting a tenant in the house. A change in the law makes it possible for the municipality to oblige landlords to temporarily rent out an empty house and, if necessary, set the maximum rent, the Amsterdam office of mayor and aldermen said.
Despite the major housing shortage in Amsterdam, many homes in the capital are standing empty. Large investors like the American firm Blackstone have been accused of buying up homes and deliberately leaving them empty to drive up rental prices in the tight housing market.
“I am pleased that we can now tackle that better,” said alderman Zita Pels of public housing. “In this day and age, empty houses are incomprehensible. So we are going to make sure that homes are again for living in.”
Amsterdam can make this change to its approach to vacancy because the government included a separate regulation for Amsterdam in the Decree on the Implementation of the Crisis and Recovery Act. It allows Amsterdam to experiment with forcing landlords to rent out vacant homes at a more reasonable price if necessary. If they fail to do so, Amsterdam can fine professional landlords up to 9,000 euros and other offenders up to 4,500 euros.
According to the city, there is broad support for adopting this policy, though the city council still has to approve it. The office of the mayor and aldermen expects to start the new regulation on December 1.