More and harsher protests coming against "failing housing policy," action group warns
This year there will be “more and harsher action” against the government’s “failing housing policy,” the action group Woonprotest told De Volkskrant on Thursday. The actions will be a follow-up to last year’s housing demonstrations in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague, among others.
“There will not only be more campaigns. They will also be harsher than last year’s demonstrations,” Woonprotest co-founder Sander van der Kraan said to the newspaper. “Disruptive and obstructive, think about that. Not all neatly announced to municipalities and the police, but rather occupations and blockades like the Extinction Rebellion protests against the climate crisis.”
The Cabinet has taken or announced several measures since last year’s demonstrations. The landlord levy - a tax on housing associations - will be scrapped next year. Municipalities can implement purchase protection and self-occupancy obligations to ward off investors. Housing Minister Hugo de Jonge announced intentions to also regulate part of the free market, the medium-high rentals. He is also working on the good landlordhip bill to give municipalities more power to intervene in sub-quality rentals.
But these measures only start to address the worst problems, Van der Kraan said to the newspaper. “The Minister has launched an avalanche of plans. There is a lot of fog in there to camouflage that nothing essentially changes. A lot is still in the atmosphere of ‘we are going to investigate’ and ‘we are giving new guidelines to the municipalities.’ Meanwhile, concrete results are lacking. But we notice the problems very concretely. The lack of housing. High rents. Bad living conditions.”
Some demands for this year’s protests will be combatting homelessness, including by stopping evictions, a substantial increase in housing benefits, a ban on temporary rental contracts, and subjecting all rental properties - including the more expensive ones - to tight price regulation.