Waiting lists for social housing continue to grow, Landsmeer hits 22 years

A poster in Amsterdam protesting about the sale of social housing Photo: DutchNews.nl
A poster in Amsterdam protesting about the sale of social housing. Photo: DutchNews.nl

Waiting lists for social housing have stretched to more than seven years in a quarter of the Netherlands’ 355 local authority areas, according to research by public broadcaster NOS.

The longest waiting list – 22 years – is in Landsmeer, a village just north of Amsterdam, but the waits are similar in other towns and villages surrounding the capital. In Amsterdam itself, the average waiting time for a rent-controlled home is 13 years.

The long waits are down to the shortage of social housing – which has a rent of below €750 and has strict income requirements attached. Between 2015 and 2020, the number of housing corporation rent controlled properties rose by 1% while the population grew 3%.

‘I am not surprised by the unacceptable long waiting lists,’ said Martin van Rijn, chairman of the housing corporation umbrella group Aedes. ‘Only building more homes and better regional coordination can reduce this frustration.’

To do this, social housing providers need both direction and financial support from national government, he said.

Earlier this year, housing corporations, real estate investors and local authorities said the Netherlands needs to build one million new homes to meet demand.

According to government figures, some 60% of the 7.5 million homes in the Netherlands are owner occupied. Private landlords, including investment companies own 8% and the rest are in the hands of the country’s housing associations.

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