Thursday 27 October 2016

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Family spending institute calls for higher salary limit for social housing


The Dutch family spending institute Nibud is calling for an increase in the income limit for social housing. The institute says that it has become so expensive to buy a house or to rent one in the non-rent controlled sector that households with an income of between €38,000 and €40,000 are worse off than people living on benefits. The current earnings maximum for social housing is around €30,000 for a family with children and this could be increased for some families, director Gerjoke Wilmink told news agency ANP. He also called on political parties to take a good look at the impact of their tax plans on people on average incomes.  More >

Social housing lobby group heads for court

Housing Social housing lobby group Woonbond is planning to go to court in an effort to overturn what it says are illegal rent rises for hundreds of thousands of people living in rent-controlled housing. People with an income of more than some €35,000 are considered to be earning too much to live in social housing and since 2013, landlords have been able to put up their rents by more than the rate of the inflation. Landlords - both housing corporations and private owners - were able to consult the tax office to find out which income band their tenants fell into. At the beginning of this year, the Council of State - the highest Dutch administrative court - ruled that this access conflicted with privacy regulations. Now Woonbond says it is going to court to have the rent increases handed down to high-earning tenants overturned. Settlement It says efforts to get a settlement with the housing corporations and private landlords' associations have failed and a court case is the only alternative. The total bill could run to €365m, Woonbond says. Earlier this year, the housing ministry published research showing around 50% of social housing tenants were faced with a rent rise above the rate of inflation over the past three years – meaning they earn more than the limit.  More >

Pilot project to sell housing online flops

Housing An experiment in selling homes online has flopped, with just 25 home owners taking part in five months, the Volkskrant said on Tuesday. Real estate agents association NVM ran the experiment in Groningen and Amsterdam and had hoped at least 100 homes would be put up for sale online. NVM chairman Ger Jaarsma told the paper that sellers are worried their homes will be sold for less than in the current system of sealed bids. The idea of the online auction is to bring more transparency to the process, he said. 'Our initial conclusion is that it works well for buyers but it remains to be seen if enough sellers are willing to take part,' he said. 'It is extremely difficult to find home owners who want to do this,' Amsterdam real estate agent Sven Heinen told the paper. 'Real estate agents are also opposed to the idea. They are worried about losing trades and influence.' House prices have gone up some 10% in Groningen over the past year and by some 22% in Amsterdam, according to recent figures.  More >