An advert for a four bedroom house in the north Holland town of Medemblik, which said foreigners could not rent the €2,100 a month property because of council policy, has again highlighted the problems facing many international workers in finding a home.
The ad, which appeared on several housing sites, including Funda, said ‘Medemblik local council doesn’t like foreigners so unfortunately this house is not for you. There is an anti-immigration policy’.
The council reacted furiously, calling the ad ‘racist’. ‘We are distancing ourselves from this discriminatory and hurtful language and are taking legal steps,’ a council spokeswoman told the AD.
— Emine Uğur (@overlistener) November 17, 2021
Real estate company Match Makelaar said it had written the ad as a reaction to the council’s policy on seasonal workers. The house in question had been rented out to three British nationals and a Dutch national for the past seven months but they had been told to leave because under council rules only one household could occupy the house.
‘There is discussion about housing for people who come from abroad to work in many local authority areas,’ Denis Stello of Match Makelaars said. ‘That is what we wanted to draw attention to. Many companies are desperate.’
Stello admits the word ‘anti-migrant’ may have been confusing. ‘It’s just how you interpret the word ‘migrant’. A refugee from Syria, or a white Englishman who works for a Dutch company, they’re both foreigners. How else to describe them? We are not racists and absolutely not afraid of the council’s legal steps.’
Research for the home affairs ministry earlier this year found that more than one third of rental housing agents are prepared to exclude people with foreign names from the properties they offer, and discrimination against potential tenants with foreign names is more common outside the big cities.
Foreign students are also regularly confronted with ‘no internationals’ and ‘Dutch only’ requirements in shared houses.
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