Social affairs minister Piet Hein Donner is to try to introduce new legislation later this year which will allow landlords to put up the rents of high earners living in social housing above the rate of inflation.
The cabinet hopes the measure – a 5% annual increase – will encourage people who can afford more expensive housing to leave the rent-controlled sector.
The change has been made more urgent because the European Union has set new rules for Dutch housing corporations because of the indirect support they receive from governments in the form of tax breaks and other benefits.
This means houses with a monthly rent of below €652.52 can only be rented to people earning less than €33,614 a year. This is well below the new government’s guideline of €43,000.
Housing corporations argue the lower limit will make it impossible for thousands of households, particularly in central urban areas, to find somewhere affordable to live.
House rents in the Netherlands are calculated according to a points system, with flats and houses awarded points for size, location, age, basic facilities and extras. Landlords are free to set the rent of houses, which are outside the social sector.
Waiting lists for social housing can be up to 10 years in some towns and cities. For example, some 49% of cheaper rent-controlled properties in Utrecht are lived in by people who earn too much, according to city council research.
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