Friday 18 August 2017

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Apartment owner denies 'western cooking only' was part of the deal


The owner of two apartments at the centre of a media storm last week about 'western cooking only' has told the Volkskrant that she never made this a condition of renting out a flat. Last week, Iraqi expat Maysaa Munaf, was shocked when she inquired about an apartment at Executive Home Rentals and was told tenants who ‘cook for hours using lots of herbs’ need not apply. ‘If you cook the ‘western way’ we can offer you a viewing on Friday,’ the email said. Munaf shared a screenshot of the offending letter on Facebook post titled ‘In today’s episode of ‘Racism is alive and well’. Executive Home Rentals said the clause was a demand made by the owner because the flat is sensitive to spreading smells. But owner Carolien van den Neste told the Volkskrant: ‘We are very shocked and dismayed by the discriminatory words that were used.’ She and her husband agreed with the agency 'that they would look for a tenant with the profile: expat, single/couple, non-smokers, pets subject to negotiation. There were no other demands whatever,’ she told the paper. On Friday EHR’s director Michel Rootring described the term ‘western style of cooking’ as unfortunate, but continued to insist that it was a demand made by the owners and the neighbours. However, the Volkskrant contacted the owners association (VVE) and found no complaints. 'We've never spoken about cooking within the VVE,' a spokesman for the owners told the paper. 'I'm not happy that we are being blamed for this.' Have you faced discrimination in renting a home in the Netherlands? Send your experiences to or leave a comment below.  More >

'Western' food only says housing agency

Housing A housing agency in Amsterdam has said it will only rent out two of its apartments if the tenant cooks ‘western’ food, NOS reports. When Maysaa Munaf, who has been in the Netherlands for a week, inquired about the apartments at Executive Home Rentals she was told tenants who ‘cook for hours using lots of herbs’ need not apply. 'If you cook the 'western way' we can offer you a viewing on Friday,' the email said. Munaf shared screenshot of the offending letter on Facebook post titled ‘In today’s episode of ‘Racism is alive and well’. 'I did not get what I was reading,' she told RTL. 'What is western cooking. Am I only allowed to eat sprouts?' After sending a critical email back to the company, Munaf was told that the company did not mean to be racist, but just wanted to inform her about the situation. It is not clear whether non-Western cooking is a requirement of the agency or the owners of the apartments. Executive Home Rentals director Michel Rootring later told NOS that the apartments are sensitive to smell transfer. The flats are 'not suitable for long sessions of cooking but the word 'western' was an extremely misfortunate choice of worlds,' he said. Earlier this month another Amsterdam housing agency came under fire for trying to rent out a 35 square metre apartment where cooking was banned altogether. My friend moved to Amsterdam and is trying to rent a house. She received this email today. Pls share. #cookingforhourswithherbs — David Poort (@davidpoort) August 10, 2017   More >

Amsterdam Airbnb rules widely flouted

Housing Four in ten Dutch people who rent out their homes via Airbnb do so for more than 60 days a year, Trouw reported on Friday. Joint research with De Tijd, the Süddeutsche Zeitung and Le Monde using scrape sites to check data also show the average cost of a night’s stay in Amsterdam is €171, compared with €106 in Paris and €80 in Berlin and Brussels. In addition, more than a quarter of overnight stays in Amsterdam are booked via agencies which welcome guests, clean the apartments and advertise the property on behalf of owners. Amsterdam plans to strictly enforce the 60 day limit from this autumn and many other cities have also introduced a similar deal, Trouw says. (Trouw, page 3)  More >