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Ministers review housing reforms following CDA threat

Thursday 07 February 2013

Cabinet plans to reform the housing market, including reducing mortgage tax relief, are being overhauled by ministers in an effort to get the Christian Democrats on board, the NRC said on Thursday afternoon.

Sources told the paper housing minister Stef Blok needs to get the CDA on side in order to guarantee the changes will be passed in the upper house of parliament. The Labour-Liberal coalition does not control a majority of seats in the senate.

The CDA said earlier this week it would block all efforts to shake up the rental housing sector unless the cabinet pledged investment in kick-starting the housing market in general.

Extra taxes

Central to the government's plans is the decision to charge housing corporations extra taxes, which will rise to €2bn by 2017. The levy is essential to ensure the cabinet meets EU budget deficit targets.

The CDA opposes this extra charge. It also wants the government to soften plans to reduce mortgage tax relief.

MPs are debating housing market developments with Blok on Thursday afternoon. Thursday's debate centres on Blok's plans to make social housing tenants pay higher rents if they are technically earning too much to live in the property.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

I am curious to know about the conditions under which high earners qualify for social housing.

By Trisha Roy | 7 February 2013 5:27 PM

Cabinet plans to reform including reducing mortgage tax relief Terrible way to help people why don't they look at everything help the retired poor middle class.

By Michael Kadin | 7 February 2013 6:32 PM

The key is job...stop cutting items that create jobs. Are we determined to turn the Netherlands into Greece or Spain? The politicians need to do what they must to consider the common worker and those who need help and stop pushing the hard- working on the street.

By LLW | 8 February 2013 9:22 AM

Take from A and give to B? This kind of policy making sounds very naive without taking into consideration the entire impact on economy and employment and costs of living.

By ufo | 8 February 2013 10:32 AM

@Trisha Roy, you get the social housing when you are young & poor, then fail to move out when your income increases as your career progresses.

By Yror | 8 February 2013 10:35 AM

No, the key is: START cutting items that create unemployment: high taxes, high minimum wages, etc.

By Jakub | 8 February 2013 11:08 AM

Trisha Roy: Up to last year, once you qualified for social housing, no more income check were done. In other words, if your income rose, you wouldn't lose your house.

I'm torn by this. On one hand, I think social housing should be for those on low incomes. On the other hand, with the economy the way it is, and the disappearance of permanent contracts, I know from experience that one's income can fluctuate widely. In the past six years, our family has qualified, then not qualified, then qualified, then not qualified for social housing. Moving is expensive and stressful.

I look forward to the day when we can qualify for a mortgage...

By CW | 8 February 2013 11:36 AM

@Trish,"While income eligibility for social housing is checked upon entry, it is not monitored subsequently. As a result, the social rent remains unchanged even if household income subsequently exceeds the ceiling for initial entry." http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/economic_paper/2012/pdf/ecp_457_en.pdf

I don't know why they don't just make a tax on social housing that is dependent on income. Since much of the social housing stock was funded by taxpayers(directly or indirectly), the tax office could then refund part to the housing corporations, depending on their investment. This would get around the privacy issues of the previous plan for existing tenants "insiders" and be much more fair to the "outsiders".

By Quest | 8 February 2013 12:35 PM

The government must raise capital through screwing the electorate to bail out zombie banks. More to the point eh!

By Grumpy old man | 8 February 2013 1:27 PM

How about a referendum? - 'let the people decide, after all, I have not met anyone yet that approves of this EU dictatorship, have you?

When something becomes too expensive, often an alternative is found, why continue to make things harder?

By The visitor | 8 February 2013 3:13 PM

@Quest. Sounds like the best idea I have heard of concerning the NL social-housing situation. You should go on the government website and submit your idea, you never know, they may find it a good solution. It makes sense.

By jaycee | 8 February 2013 6:50 PM

Riiiight, Jacob. More jobs, but for a non-livable wage?

No, we don't need or want a Walmart underclass here please.

By CW | 8 February 2013 9:55 PM

@Quest: I am surprised to know that something similar to what you suggest is not in place yet .
@CW: Will the solution (or something similar) suggested by Quest not help alleviate stress related to changing homes since you get to stay where you are and pay an additional tax based on a high income as and when you have one?

By Trish | 8 February 2013 11:54 PM

I think an effort needs to be made to free-up social housing for those that really need it. I live in a street where there are mostly social housing properties. What you see is just one person working full-time, perhaps a second person working 1/2 days (max). Those living in their own purchased houses in my street are both working full-time. I think it comes down to making choices. Social houses should be available for those really in need of them, not those who choose to be "lazy".

By Maria | 11 February 2013 10:04 AM

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