Housing Minister supports plan to scrap temporary apartment leases
Minister Hugo de Jonge of Housing and Spatial Planning supports a proposal by the PvdA and ChristenUnie to scrap temporary rental contracts of up to two years. He already had plans to make permanent contracts the norm again, but the parliamentarians’ proposal will give tenants more certainty more quickly, he said in a parliamentary debate on Tuesday.
“I support the initiators’ route because it is actually better with regard to the aim of providing tenants with security. And that is the main goal,” De Jonge said.
Temporary rental contracts were introduced in 2015 in an attempt to create more housing by allowing landlords to rent out homes for shorter periods to target groups like students or migrant workers. But instead, they resulted in higher rents and less security for tenants, according to parliamentarians Henk Nijboer (PvdA) and Pieter Griwnis (ChristenUnie)
A majority in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, already supports the proposal, albeit with some caveats. Various parliamentarians proposed adding additional exceptions to the bill, to prevent rental properties from disappearing from the market simply because the landlord can’t rent it out for extended periods. For example, parents who keep a home in Amsterdam for one day when their child starts studying there but want to rent it out in the meantime.
De Jonge also thinks careful exceptions are a good idea, but keeping track of those and determining the landlord’s motives will be challenging. He wants to monitor whether landlords will take their homes off the rental market because of the bill. “I’m going to look into that,” he said. “We may have to include an additional question in the Housing Survey for this. But I do think we should know. Because suppose there was something we could fix.”
The Woonbond, the association that advocates for tenants’ interests, is delighted with the bill. Woonbond has been warning about the misuse of temporary contracts for seven years. The organization said it is pleased with the political support to further restrict the use of the controversial leases.
It ultimately provides more certainty for tenants, and gives them more rights over the long term when they secure housing, said Matthijs ten Broeke from the Woonbond to RTL Nieuws on Wednesday morning. “It’s really good news for tenants.”