Landlords in Rotterdam often charge too much rent, study shows
Rotterdam residents are dealing with an unfair housing market in which rents are being driven up by private landlords. This is despite the fact that these apartments fall into the social rent category. However, this development is not an isolated case, Trouw reports.
In the current study by Realstat, which was commissioned by the municipality, it was determined that private landlords often charge far too much rent for their apartments. It primarily affects apartments that should actually count as social housing according to the specially assigned points system, which are intended for lower-income households.
The points system is used to evaluate the level of comfort and quality for an individual property. The higher the score, the better the property, and the higher amount of rent that can be charged. A maximum score of 142 points can be awarded in the system. This corresponds to a threshold for the social sector of 800 euros per month in rent. If a property is above 142 points, it no longer counts as social housing, and can be rented out for prices determined by the free market.
But according to Realstat, many private home owners do not comply with this threshold. Apartments and houses that have scored less than 142 points in the points system are rented for prices ranging from 1,000 euros to 1,500 euros in the city. This skirting of the rules is not necessarily illegal, either. Because according to Trouw, this is allowable due to the freedom of contract in the social rental sector which makes it possible for the excessive rent as long as the tenant agrees to the price.
However, the situation is different if the tenant challenges the rent at the rent commission. Because there, the tenant can be proven to be right and win a lowering of their rent, or sometimes refunds. However, many of the tenants concerned are either afraid to go to the commission or are not aware of their rights as tenants and the regulations on the Dutch housing market.
For Mathijs ten Broeke of the tenant association Woonbond, it is clear that this phenomenon is not only occurring in Rotterdam. "In Rotterdam, the neighborhoods with a lot of outdated housing stand out. It won't be any different in comparable neighborhoods in other cities," he tells Trouw.
According to the housing association, the Rotterdam study confirms the need to make the results of the points system binding instead of giving landlords freedom of contract, the newspaper reports.
Hope for this is raised by corresponding measures that are part of the draft legislation that Public Housing Minister Hugo de Jonge will send to the Tweede Kamer later this year.