Housing corporations offer more shared accommodation

Social housing in Amsterdam. Photo: DutchNews.nl

Housing cooperations are thinking of offering more home shares to single people in an effort to alleviate the lack of social housing and shorten waiting lists.

Single households make up over half of social housing tenants, according to figures requested by broadcaster NOS from sector organisation Autoriteit Woningcorporaties.

Many are occupying homes that are too big for them according to the criteria applied by European statistics agency Eurostat. A single household with more than one bedroom is “under-occupied”, according to the agency.

Of the social housing that is vacated every year 70.5% is rented out to a single person. “Many of our tenants live in spacious houses,” a spokesman for Zaandam housing corporation Parteon told the broadcaster. “We see more under-occupation than overcrowding. Some 73% of our single households are in homes with two or more bedrooms while 40% have three or more,” he said.

Housing corporations are increasingly offering house shares to the tenants on their waiting lists. Talis in Nijmegen is renting 40 houses to two singles and wants to increase that by 50 shares every year. “We have many big family homes and we think it’s a shame to rent them to a single person,” a Talis spokesman said.

Potential Talis tenants must not be partners and each must be registered at the corporation. They can remain on the waiting list until a suitable home for a single becomes available.

This type of setup is mainly aimed at helping younger tenants get a place to live more quickly, according to social housing umbrella organisation Aedes. “Corporations are becoming aware of more efficient ways to manage the housing stock,” a spokesman said.

House shares are also advantageous for the treasury because the rent is shared and tenants do not need housing benefits. “Corporations rent out 125,000 homes a year to single households. If 15,000 of those are shared it would earn the treasury some €300 million over five years and €600 million over ten,” Frans Dirks of think-tank Platform 31 said.

It is not yet clear what the government will do if tenants who share are on benefits. At the moment benefits are reduced if two people in the same home are claiming welfare benefits.

The rules are different for the private sector, and landlords must have a licence to rent out a property to more than two adults who do not form a legal household.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation