Mediation needed for squabbling homeowners’ associations: VEH

Homeowners living in apartment blocks are legally obliged to join the VVE.

Some 40% of homeowners’ associations are riddled with conflict and should have access to mediation, watchdog organisation Vereniging Eigen Huis (VEH) has found.

Everyone living in an apartment building is required by law to form a homeowners’ association (VVE) to agree on communal costs, such as building insurance and repairs, but increasingly disputes get out of hand and in some cases, neighbours confront each other in court, the VEH said.

The energy transition and stricter quality and safety rules have forced VVEs to make increasingly complex and costly decisions, director Cindy Kremer told broadcaster NOS.

“Where previously homeowners only had to decide which company was going to repair the roof, they now have to think about solar panels or city heating,” she said.

The VVEs’ majority rule does not mean members have to comply.  All members’ interests must be taken into account, which means opponents can go to court to overturn the decision. That is happening more often, Kremer said.

The VEH found that there had been some 125 court cases in 2023 over maintenance, sustainability costs and payment arrears.


“I was threatened and called names,” former VVE chair of the Poort van Zuid apartment building Jaqueline Twigt told the broadcaster. A conflict about city heating derailed into neighbours pushing dog waste through each other’s letter boxes and puncturing bike tires.

Following a two-thirds majority in favour of city heating, the remaining neigbours filed an objection. City heating can only happen if all owners agree, prompting the VVE to go to court to force unanimity.

The judge decided in favour of the VVE, exacerbating the conflict. Neighbours were set aginst neighbour and workmen were hindered in their work to the extent that installer Vattenfall called off the project citing “unsafe working conditions”. The VVE board stepped down. The residents have not yet appointed new VVE managers.

Courts counterproductive

Kremer said the case shows that court cases can be counterproductive and that mediation rather than a confrontation in court is the solution.

An initiative in Noord-Holland, set up by judge Pieter van Riemsdijk, refers people who want to settle a conflict legally to voorRecht, a platform which gives them access to the relevant information and offers an option for conflict mediation without the need to go to court.

“People who are in conflict dig their heels in. We hope that by talking and coaching, they will be prepared to make concessions,” Van Riemsdijk said.

The VEH said it wants the platform to be accessible nationwide.

Thank you for donating to

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