Left-wing political party GroenLinks wants the Dutch government to commit to spending 250 million euros on housing availability for students and first-time home buyers. The party's representation in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, was expected to argue in favor of this allocation in a debate session on Monday.
Rents in the Netherlands continue to rise. In July, the average rents were 2.5 percent higher than in the same month last year. The highest increases happened in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Statistics Netherlands reported on Wednesday.
The rents of social housing owned by housing corporations increased by 2 percent. Rents for social housing owned by other landlords and rents in free-sector housing both increased by 3.3 percent. In all three categories, the rents increased more than last year.
Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema and Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations signed a new Housing Deal for the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area on Friday. The deal states that 230 thousand new homes will be built in the city and its surroundings until 2040, with focus on affordable housing for lower and mid-level incomes. 100 thousand of these homes will be built by 2025, the city announced in a press release.
Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs wants to prevent social housing from ending up with people who are not entitled to them. She is therefore sharply increasing the fine for illegal subletting, from over 20 thousand euros to 83 thousand euros, RTL Nieuws reports.
The Minister is amending the Housing Act to make the higher fines possible. Soon municipalities will be able to immediately impose a 20 thousand euro fine for a first offense. The fine can increase to 83 thousand euros for people repeatedly caught illegally subletting a social rental home.
Over the past decades free sector rental homes have been too much of a "neglected child" in the Dutch housing market policy, Klaas Knot, president of Dutch central bank DNB, said in a speech on Monday. He called for more attention to be paid to this part of the housing market, ANP reports.
Tenants of social rental housing do not have to worry about any extreme rent increases in the coming years. The association of housing corporations Aedas and the Woonbond made a new social lease agreement in which they agreed that social housing tenants will not carry the costs of making their homes more energy-efficient. And rents will rise by no more than inflation in the coming years, RTL Nieuws reports.
The agreement still has to be approved by the members of both organizations.
The municipality of Amsterdam plans to construct 52,500 new homes in the next seven years, responsible alderman Laurens Ivens announced. The main risk for these ambitious construction plans may be the shortage of construction workers, he said, AD reports.
"The plans are there. Hopefully we can find enough construction workers and the state will cooperate", Ivens said while presenting the municipality's plans on Thursday. The city wants to build 7,500 homes per year in its period of government. The rest will be built in the years thereafter.
The quality of life in neighborhoods with many social rental housing is quickly deteriorating due to the many problem tenants that live there, says the branch association for housing corporations Aedes based by a study by Rigo Research en Advies, RTL Nieuws reports.
GroenLinks, SP and PvdA, the three largest left-wing parties in the Tweede Kamer, together presented an alternative budget that puts "people above multinationals" on Wednesday. They call for more investments in society and in the "livelihood of all Dutch people", Het Parool reports.
The government is structurally allocating an extra 100 million euros for making social rental homes more sustainable. Housing corporations will receive this amount annually starting next year, sources around the cabinet told RTL Nieuws.
The extra investment will officially be announced on Budget Day, on September 20th, according to the broadcaster. In the coalition agreement the government already promised housing corporations 100 million euros structurally to make their homes more sustainable.
NN Groep is selling a portfolio of 6,777 homes to residential investor Vesteda for 1.5 billion euros, the two parties announced on Friday. This is one of the biggest deals ever on the Dutch rental housing market. Vesteda CEO Gertjan van der Baan called the scope of the deal unique, NU.nl reports.
The police raided several properties in The Hague on Thursday in an investigation into the forgery of documents used to make people eligible for homes they are not entitled to. Data of hundreds of people who may of been 'helped' in this way was found. There are also signals that this type of fraudulent practice is happening in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht, a spokesperson for the Public Prosecutor said to Het Parool.
Housing fraud is on the rise in Amsterdam, according to the Amsterdam Federation of Housing Associations. Last year the housing associations found 911 cases of housing fraud in the Dutch capital, NU.nl reports.
Most cases involved illegal subletting, but there were also a few homes in which cannabis plantations or even illegal brothels were found. The people in the 911 involved homes were evicted.
Amsterdam is committed to creating more housing for people with low- or mid-level incomes. To realize this, the municipality is implementing a ratio for new construction projects - 40 percent social housing, 40 percent mid-level rents and 20 percent expensive housing, the city announced in a press release.
PvdA leader and current Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher criticized the Amsterdam city management in an interview with AT5. According to him, the Dutch capital is turning into "a theme park for people with a big wallet".
Housing corporations will again start investing more into maintenance and renovation of social rental housing, national association Aedes announced. More rental housing will also be built, NAP reports.
According to Aedes, most housing corporations are doing better. Which means that there is more financial room for maintenance and improvements, such as new central heating, insulation and double glazing. "In the coming year 30 thousand major home improvements of more than 20 thousand euros per home will be carried out", a spokesperson for Aedes said.
The housing policy of the current Dutch government is creating a crisis, with the middle class bearing the brunt of the situation, according to TU Delft professor of housing Peter Boelhouwer and Karel Schiffer, former leader of NHG-hypotheek, the Financieele Dagblad reports.
According to these two experts, the housing market in the Netherlands today still faces a shortage of housing, the sale and rental sector hardly relate to each other and the steep rent increases combined with a decline in purchasing power is creating a "poverty trap" in the rental sector.
Amsterdam is offering support to 10 thousand residents who have a low income, but relatively high rent, the municipality announced in a press release on Wednesday. The city is dedicating 3.5 million euros per year for the next three years to this.
"We see that Amsterdammmers increasingly often end up in financial troubles because their fixed costs are simply too high. With this arrangement, we can help a bit", Social Affairs alderman Arjan Vliegenhart said.
The SP wants a structural rent reduction of 400 euros per year for residents of social housing. The party also wants more inexpensive rental housing built and more houses to be insulated
Refugees who received a residency permit in the Netherlands increasingly have to share living space with other refugees, because Dutch municipalities can not find enough homes to house them all, the Volkskrant reports based on a survey of the 25 largest municipalities in the Netherlands.
Housing corporations association Aedes, the Housing Association and the association of Dutch municipalities VNG are calling for the landlords tax to be abolished. A study by the University of Groningen showes that the tax has a negative impact on the availability of social housing and on households with low incomes,
Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan thinks that social housing tenants should also be able to take advantage of Airbnb. Social housing tenants get all of the burdens, but none of the benefits of the increasing tourism in the city, the mayor said in the talk show Heyu Urbans, Het Parool reports.
Amsterdam housing corporations are working hard in The Hague lobbying for higher rent increases than was agreed upon on in the Housing Agreement.
Worried Rotterdam tenants started collecting signatures on Wednesday to petition for a referendum on the municipality's plans to demolish some 20 thousand low-cost rental housing. The municipality plans to replace the cheap apartments with homes for families and professionals