Parliament shoots down plan to let municipalities choose who homeowners sell to
Housing Minister Hugo de Jonge’s plan to let municipalities reserve some existing homes for people with low and middle income has lost its parliamentary majority. The PVV decided to pull its support for the amendment to the housing act, parliamentarian Alexander Kops said on Twitter. De Jonge said the lack of support is a blow to middle-income households in the Netherlands looking to buy a home.
De Jonge wanted to introduce a permit obligation with an income test for people who buy an existing home with a value of up to 355,000 euros. He intended to prevent affordable homes from going to people who could afford more so that people with low and middle incomes had more chances of homeownership.
If the amendment was implemented, municipalities could put the income test on half of the homes worth up to 355,000 euros. The bill also let municipalities reserve half of owner-occupied homes and rentals for their locals or people with crucial professions like teachers and police officers.
De Jonge’s plans were heavily criticized by the coalition parties VVD and D66, who accused him of infringing on homeowners’ property rights. The PVV now also joined that line of thinking. The far-right party does not want “municipalities to determine who you can sell your house to,” Kops tweeted.
With the PVV, D66, VVD, and JA21 voting against it, the bill can no longer expect majority support in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament.
De Jonge told reporters before Friday's Cabinet meeting that the lack of support means that middle-income households looking to purchase a home will have fewer opportunities on the market. The housing minister said he was holding out hope that the bill will still eventually pass with majority support with adjustments from the VVD, D66 and possibly the opposition party, PVV.
The two coalition parties have suggested adjusting De Jonge's bill to only apply to newly-constructed homes below the 355,000 euro price point, and not to owner-occupied homes. "That's still good news for middle-income earners, because they're still improving their position with this law."