Friday 12 August 2022

International students are falling prey to dodgy landlords, union warns

Dutch students union Lsvb has again sounded the alarm about the way foreign students are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous landlords.

‘They are being exploited by landlords charging high rents and with weird terms and conditions. This can’t go on,’ spokeswoman Geertje Hulzebos told the Parool. ‘This has all been made possible by the shortage of rooms.’

Some 122,000 foreign students attended courses at Dutch universities and hbo colleges last year, double the 2013 figure. The students usually try and find a place to live from abroad, making it impossible to view the room.

‘They don’t have the option of not finding a room,’ Hulzebos said. Nor are they aware of the Dutch rules and regulations for housing and are easily trapped into paying high rents for tiny spaces, she said.

The Lsvb says universities and colleges should stop trying to attract foreign students unless they can organise proper accommodation for them. The union, which has set up a housing hotline for foreign students to report problems, made a similar plea in 2017.

Tenants lobby group Woonbond has also called international students ‘easy prey’. ‘We try to give them proper information but they are a hard group to reach,’ spokesman Marcel Trip said.

Student housing umbrella group Kences says it is aware of the problem but that the shortage of housing cannot be solved overnight. ‘We, housing corporations, councils and universities have under-estimated the flood of foreign students,’ spokesman Ardin Mourik told the paper.

Are you an international student? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

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