Friday 17 September 2021

Bergen makes sub-dividing property free to ease housing shortage

Credit: Pixabay

Bergen local council is shouldering the costs for sub-dividing large homes in the well-heeled Noord Holland town to be able to house more people.

The licence for splitting up a home into separate units normally costs home owners between €2,000 and €10,000 euros. Those costs will now be waived.

‘There are many big houses here and a great demand for smaller ones. Building more homes is tricky because the provincial authorities oppose it,’ head of housing Klaas Valkering told broadcaster NOS. Much of Bergen comes in the category of ‘protected provincial landscape’ or is part of Natura 2000 which prohibits building.

Bergen is the first local coincil to make it free to subdivide property. Some six requests for a licence have come in so far as the promotion of the new measure gathers steam.  ‘We hope that number will grow to 25 to 50, which would be a good result for a small town like Bergen,’ Valkering said.

Bergen has some 14,750 homes, many of which have more than one floor and are owned by an ageing population.

‘Older people could opt to live on the ground floor and turn the other floors into separate units to sell or rent out,’ Valkering said. More homes would also keep younger people from leaving the town, he said.

The association of local councils VNG said sub-dividing property could be a way of tackling the need for housing but that making licences free would mean higher local taxes for other services, which not every local council would want, a sposkesperson told the broadcaster.

However, Bergen said it did not expect the new measure to be much of a burden on the budget and has not earmarked any funds for the measure.

The Netherlands currently has a shortage of 280,000 homes. Just 3,000 homes a year become available through sub-division, while house price rises continue to break records.

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