Social housing rents soar, new tenants pay 29% more

rental housing netherlandsAn increasing number of rent-controlled properties are being moved into the liberalised sector when they become vacant, according to research by tenants’ association Woonbond and quoted by the Volkskrant.

New tenants are paying on average 29% more than they would have done for the same property two years ago, Woonbond says. The average social housing rent for a new contract has gone up to €605 a month, just €100 below the liberalised sector limit.

Woonbond looked at 2,688 rental properties advertised by housing corporations. Of them, 15% cost more than €710 a month and are ineligible for housing benefits. There were sharp regional variations and in Amsterdam 25% of the housing corporation homes on offer were in the free sector.

Housing corporations argue that they are doing what they can to ensure a sufficient supply of social housing but that many have financial problems, partly due to an extra €1.7bn tax demand. In addition, low rents mean less money to build new properties, they say.

Woonbond director Ronald Paping says demand for cheaper housing is increasing. ‘Old people, the handicapped and psychiatric patients are supposed to live longer at home, and there are 66,000 people in crisis accommodation waiting for a home,’ he says.

‘People on the lowest incomes, who have lost a lot of spending power since 2010, are paying the bill. It has become more difficult for them to find an affordable place to live,’ he told the paper.

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