Around 650 tenants of two Amsterdam buildings run by the company Change= are raising individual complaints against service charges which they say are unclear.
The cases involve tenants who want clarity on charges from the building developer and manager Change= and the owners, Luxembourg-based PEC Persimmon SARL and the ISFII Amsterdam Coöperatief UA.
Their buildings in Amsterdam Zuidoost and Nieuw-West offer what Change= calls ‘networked living’ for employed young people – around 1,100 ‘low cost’ studios with facilities such as a gym and fast internet charged as extras.
Ralph Mamadeus, chief executive of Change=, told a court last month that he developed the buildings due to his strong, social vision, and rejected allegations that he had intimidated tenants. He unsuccessfully claimed that his privacy was breached by a news article by Woon.
‘The battle between tenants and landlord has entered a new phase,’ said Woon, in a news update, claiming that Change= was refusing to engage in one single procedure that would apply to all tenants.
In the past, Change= levied a ‘community’ charge on top of normal rent and service charges paid to the owners of the buildings.
Last year, a court in Amsterdam ruled that ‘community services’ charges could not be demanded on top of normal charges for the 250 tenants who took legal action, and ordered a refund. These charges have not been refunded, as the verdict required, and the case is understood to have gone to appeal.
However, the community costs were stopped and service charges for all tenants subsequently tripled. It is understood that new tenants in the building are asked to pay a total of €930 a month in rent and service charges.
There are rules in the Netherlands about the rent that can be charged for ‘social’ housing and service costs, which cannot be increased in scope unless 70% of tenants agree. The raise provoked strong criticism and questions in Amsterdam city council.
Dutch News has asked for a comment from Change=, the lawyer representing Change= and lawyers representing PEC Persimmon S.A.R.L. Attempts to contact ISFII Amsterdam Coöperatief U.A have been unsuccessful.
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