Homeowners angered by demands for interior photos to assess property values
Ten municipalities are participating in an experiment requiring homeowners to take photos of the inside of their homes so that officials can better determine the value of their property. Homeowners are furious about demands to submit pictures of their bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom, among other things, De Telegraaf reports.
Homeowners call this an invasion of their privacy and worry about what will happen to the photos they submit. They are supported by local politicians and the homeowners’ association VEH, according to the newspaper. The Enschede city council demanded an emergency debate on the matter, demanding that the Municipal Tax Office Twente withdraw from this experiment.
Enschede alderman of Finance, Marc Teutelink, told RTV Oost that he understands the unrest. “I would also think: what is this about? Who are you to ask for pictures of the inside of my house?” But stopping the national experiment cannot happen just like that. He added that homeowners are only obliged to provide information, and it is up to them how they do it. “There are people who called and provided the information over the phone.”
The Dutch Data Protection Authority (AP) is keeping a close eye on this experiment, spokesperson Caspar Itz said to De Telegraaf. “The municipality will look behind the front door. That is only allowed in exceptional cases if it is strictly necessary. A look behind the front door may show how you practice your religion, what sexual hobbies you have, or what your political opinion is.” That is a major violation of privacy.
The municipalities hope that more accurately determining property values, referred to as the WOZ-value, will result in fewer objections to these values.