Thousands of homes can’t be sold because of private ground rent

Tens of thousands of Dutch homes remain impossible to sell because they have been built on privately-owned land, according to real estate agents’ association NVM.

In 2011, it emerged that banks had suddenly all but stopped giving mortgages to people who want to buy property situated on another private owner’s land and therefore subject to ground rent (erfpacht).

The banks consider it too risky to do so, because the land owner can increase the ground rent at will. This, they say, could mean people default on their mortgages.


Since then, efforts have been made to find a solution for the problem but with only limited results and the banks are continuing to exclude a large number of properties, the NVM says in Thursday’s Volkskrant.

The problem is particularly acute in Amsterdam and in houses built on country estates or in rural areas. Last year, the banks agreed to allow notaries to advise on individual ground rent contracts but in three quarters of cases there are still problems, the Volkskrant says.

‘The aim of the new procedure was to make it possible to sell houses on land owned by third parties,’ said Piet van Buuren from a lobby group representing people unable to sell their homes. ‘In some cases, the notaries are being demonstrably tougher than was agreed.’

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