New rent control plan bites, more apartments are being sold off


There is increasing evidence that private landlords are selling their apartments when tenants leave because of the government’s plans to regulate the rents for 90% of the country’s rental housing.

Investors have warned for some time that the move will lead to hundreds of rental properties being sold off. And now, the Financieele Dagblad said, there are signs small scale private landlords are doing the same thing.

House minister Hugo de Jonge plans to extend the current rent control system to an estimated 150,000 homes, which are currently rented out for more than €800 a month. He says the move will keep rents affordable and stop landlords overcharging.

The FD has spoken to investors, estate agents and banks and found that many are planning to sell up because they can no longer make a profit.

Amsterdam rental housing specialist Pieter van der Mede told the FD he estimates half of the rental housing in Amsterdam which becomes empty is being sold. ‘Normally I sell 100 houses a year but I am now getting 50 free sector properties on top of that,’ he said.

Many of the landlords selling their properties have two or three apartments which they bought as a pension, Amsterdam estate agent Sven Heinen said. They are also being hit by higher asset taxes on rental property and see no option but to sell, he told the paper.


Broadcaster NOS has also questioned estate agents about their experiences. ‘There were a few [sales] last year but since the New Year there has been a considerable increase,’ Jerry Wijnen, chairman of the Amsterdam estate agents organisation MVA said.  ‘People are deciding that homes will no longer be rented out.’

The sale of rental housing will mean more choice for people who want to buy, particularly those on average incomes, such as nurses, teachers and police officers, De Jonge said earlier.

And tenants’ lobby group Woonbond says it is not concerned that there will be fewer rental properties on the market. ‘The trend of the past few years, in which people buy up properties to rent out, is being reversed,’ a spokesman said.

Some 57% of the Dutch housing stock is owner-occupied, 34% rent controlled and 8% non-rent controlled. Ten years ago, just 4% of housing was classed as ‘free sector’.

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