Friday 09 December 2016

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Amsterdam, Airbnb agree new deal to stop illegal rentals

Housing

Amsterdam city council and holiday rental website Airbnb have agreed a new deal which they say will cut back on illegal rentals and reduce the nuisance to neighbours. Airbnb has agreed to put a limiter on its website which means apartments which have been rented out for 60 days will disappear from the site for the rest of the year. The website has also agreed to install a 'neighbour tool' which other residents can use to complain about noisy or aggressive tenants. It will also introduce a limit on four people per apartment. Amsterdam allows people to rent out their homes via websites such as Airbnb for up to 60 nights a year and to no more than four people, provided they own the property or don’t live in social housing. There are thousands of properties in the city which are rented out illegally or by professional companies and Amsterdam had threatened to tear up the Airbnb deal without more information from the website. Earnings Airbnb says the vast majority of landlords stick to the rules and that ‘commercial landlords are not welcome’. The website does collect tourist tax on behalf of the city but does not give details about individual payments.’ In May, the company said Amsterdam’s Airbnb hosts rent out their properties for an average of 28 days a year, earning an average of €3,800 in the process. The Insideairbnb.com website shows that 25% of hosts list more than one property, and more than one in ten flats offered for rent are available to more than four guests at a time. Register Parliament recently voted in favour of a Socialist Party motion which would require everyone who wants to rent out their home via websites like Airbnb to register their plans. However, it is unclear if the government will put the motion into practice and housing minister Stef Blok opposes the idea. The new deal between the city and Airbnb will be evaluated every three or four months, the Financieele Dagblad said. Critics of the new deal point out that there is nothing to stop landlords who rent out their properties illegally from using websites similar to Airbnb. However, according to the Financieele Dagblad, the city has pledged to make similar agreements with other websites to ensure a level playing field.  More >


Councils keep property tax rises in check

Housing Local council property tax (OZB) will rise by an average of 1.3% in 2017, the first time in five years the increase has been below the government ceiling, according to research by home owners association VEH. Councils have been exceeding the standard for years, usually to shore up their budget or compensate for other losses, broadcaster RTL news said on Wednesday. Nevertheless, 32 out of 109 councils who responded to the VEH’s inquiries will increase the tax by more than the agreed 2%. Home owners in Haren face the biggest increase of 12%. By contrast, in Rijswijk and Mierlo, the tax has been cut by 7%. RTL’s calculations show home owners will pay an average of €724 in OZB, sewage and waste taxes in 2017. VEH director Rob Mulder told RTL he wants a fairer system for local taxes. ‘Tenants should also have to pay for the municipal facilities that everyone benefits from,’ he said. ‘We will ask the next cabinet for a better, more balanced distribution of the burden.’  More >


ECB warns NL about housing market

Housing The housing market in the Netherlands remains a threat to the European financial system, according to the EU's financial risk watchdog ESRB. The residential property market risk is overheating in eight European Union countries, including the Netherlands, partly from unintended effects of ultra-low interest rates, the ESRB said in a new report. The ESRB said the Dutch government had done too little to stabilise the sector. The tougher requirements applied to mortgages such as the lower loan to value ratio and cutting back on the mortgage interest rate tax relief were perhaps not enough to reduce the vulnerability of the Dutch housing market, the ESRB said. The ESBR noted that Dutch households were deep in debt and mortgages in relation to underlying value were higher than elsewhere in the EU. Some 25% of mortgages are higher than the price the property would fetch on the open market and young people in particular have high mortgages. Such high debts pose a threat to macroeconomic and financial stability, the ESRB said. These households might have to repay their borrowings in the event of a recession and this will be a problem for banks, especially if this is accompanied by a fall in housing prices. Despite this, the watchdog sees no sign of overheating in the housing market. 'The prices appear to be low in historic perspective,' the ESRB said, adding that Dutch banks are 'well capitalised" and that even more buffer capital would be required in the future. Less risk Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said in a reaction said the market risk had lessened compared to previous years. 'The package of reforms implemented by the cabinet seeks to stem the increase in household indebtedness, and its associated risks, while supporting a broad housing market recovery in a balanced manner,' Dijsselbloem said in a written reply. 'As many of the reforms are being phased in gradually, we expect that the reforms will continue to contribute to a more moderate growth of household indebtedness and its associated risks.'   More >