Amsterdam is planning a crackdown on landlords who infringe bylaws by offering students and individual renters accommodation via a group contract rather than individually, reports NOS.
This practice, which can be used to avoid legal room limits and charge people too much for accommodation, has been banned in Amsterdam since April 2020. Since this time, the number of room permits has dropped, with only 1,660 applications and 600 permits reportedly issued.
However, there is some evidence that group contracts are still being signed for rooms in the capital that are really rented to individuals – potentially breaking the municipality’s rules and risking a €8,000 fine.
The NOS has conducted an investigation into people who are apparently being overcharged for their rent, citing examples such as five international students sharing a house in Amsterdam-Zuidoost on a group contract giving the landlord a total revenue of around €4,000 for a property of 77 square metres.
If a group of people share a property, or there is only one named, lead tenant, the “points” from all of the rooms are counted together put it into the free market segment, where there are no legal price limits. The NOS investigation found evidence, it said, that landlords were evading legal limits on room rates by renting properties in this way.
Amsterdam is drawing up new housing regulation to tackle an extreme housing shortage, and planning to make it easier to rent a room in your home. However plans to reverse the ban on group contracts were opposed by renter interest groups and student organisations.
New government legislation has been proposed to regulate more of the rental sector. Although it would allow a 20% increase for single room rates, it is likely to bring more properties under price controls. There is some evidence that landlords are selling buy-to-let and investment properties, providing more supply in the sales market but reducing rental supply.
Dutch News has asked Amsterdam city council for a response.
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