PRESS RELEASE HOOFDDORP – 3 July 2013
Mass eviction threatens in Hoofddorp-East
Dozens of temporary residents of homes in Hoofddorp-Oost are in danger of being evicted soon. Housing association Ymere wants them to sign anti-squat contracts with Interveste. But the residents are tired of being pressured and refuse to sign a rights-free housing contract so that they can be evicted at any moment. Do you want to rent temporarily for more than five years? That simply means a permanent rental contract, or the right to replacement housing and a relocation allowance. Ymere, be a social landlord instead of one that outsources the tricky business to anti-squat agencies!
This week, the Minister of Housing, Stef Blok, will visit the association of housing associations Aedes to implement a motion that the House of Representatives has just adopted. When the measures to broaden the vacancy law were adopted by the House of Representatives on 26 March, a large majority of the House also voted in favor of a motion calling on Minister Stef Blok to agree with the housing associations that from now on they will only work with temporary housing. leases under the vacancy law instead of with anti-squat. After all, the position of temporary tenants is better safeguarded than that of anti-squat residents. In view of the social task of housing associations, this is therefore also preferred by the House of Representatives.
The minister must therefore agree with the housing associations not to use anti-squatting anymore. That is convenient! Because the situation in Hoofddorp-Oost is a typical example of the kind of one-two punches between housing corporations and anti-squat agencies that are becoming increasingly common. Particularly in the countless demolition-new-build neighborhoods in the Netherlands where developments have come to a standstill. Due to poor planning or lack of financing, often blamed for the crisis, large numbers of houses are withdrawn from the regular rent, are then temporarily rented out under the vacancy law and when the maximum period of five years has passed, they are put into anti-squat . In addition, Hoofddorp-Oost is unfortunately also a typical example of how scandalous some corporations and anti-squat agencies treat (temporary) residents. And how careless housing associations are with their vacant homes. Also in an area where the housing shortage is dire, such as in the Haarlemmermeer!
The residents of Hoofddorp-Oost and the Bond Precaire Woonvorm no longer accept that urgent home seekers, families and people who are forced to live temporarily because they have little money, are explained away as second-class citizens and are blackmailed into opting for lawless housing contracts. "Try anti-squat or else you should try the Salvation Army." Nowadays, even municipalities and housing associations show urgent home seekers the door with such words. Have they forgotten that we are full-fledged people who do not want to be condemned to a precarious existence? Have the government and housing associations forgotten that there is such a thing as the right to a roof over your head and that it is precisely they who have a role to play in this? Or is there something else going on?
On Friday 5 July 14:00, the temporary residents of Hoofddorp-Oost and other residents of solidarity, together with the Bond Precaire Woonvorm, will call Ymere to account at their office in Hoofddorp. Until now, Ymere has not been prepared to really enter into discussions with individual residents to resolve matters properly. In fact, Ymere has taken to court twelve temporary tenants who have in fact acquired regular tenancy rights. Ymere reacted rudely when residents expressed their concerns about the situation or asked for a different solution. That is why the residents are now going to Ymere's office together to finally start a conversation. Aedes and the (local and national) political parties are also invited.
*The residents are tired of being put under pressure and make the following demands:* – Residents may no longer be pressured to sign an anti-squat contract with Interveste; – Temporary renting for more than five years under the Vacancy Act means a permanent lease, the right to replacement housing, an urban renewal urgency and a relocation allowance. The summons of the temporary tenants must be immediately dismissed. Ymere must come to a suitable solution in consultation with each of these residents; – The anti-squat contracts signed with Interveste must be converted into temporary leases with Ymere. If Ymere cannot (any longer) do this, it must offer a regular lease to the sitting residents. As a social landlord, Ymere does not need a commercial party to perform its core task, which is the management and rental of social housing; – Bypassing the Vacancy Act by means of anti-squatting in places where temporary letting is possible under the Vacancy Act is socially undesirable and in violation of the said Lower House motion. Where Ymere in Hoofddorp-Oost can temporarily rent out on the basis of the vacancy law, it must do so. – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Note to the editor, not for publication: For more information, please contact Manu Michel, spokesperson for the residents at firstname.lastname@example.org Website of the residents' committee in Hoofddorp-Oost: www.leeghwatersolidair.nl Abel Heijkamp, spokesperson for Bond Precarious Housing (06-47 68 65 43) email@example.com, www.bondprecairewoonvorm.nl – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – *Backgrounds to the story in Hoofddorp-Oost* Housing corporation Ymere has forced dozens of temporary residents in Hoofddorp East to sign anti-squat contracts. to be signed with Interveste. Twelve temporary tenants who, on the basis of legislation and jurisprudence, are entitled to replacement accommodation and a relocation allowance, are now being summoned by Ymere. These tenants are tired of being pressured and refuse to sign an anti-squat contract. They also protest against the shameless way in which Ymere treats its residents. "You don't have tenancy rights, so do as I say or I'll kick you out." That is Ymere's attitude towards dozens of temporary residents in what is known as 'The old village', originally a KLM neighbourhood. In 2007-2008 Ymere stopped the regular rental of the approximately 255 single-family homes. There were demolition plans that were not yet implemented. Ymere has started to rent out the homes temporarily under a permit based on the Vacancy Act. A municipality issues such a permit for a maximum of 5 years. At the end of that period, the temporary lease becomes an ordinary lease on the basis of the Vacancy Act. This is the case with several temporary tenants in Hoofddorp-Oost because Ymere let the permits expire. Due to the chaos at Ymere, these tenants have in fact become "normal" tenants and are entitled to replacement accommodation and a relocation allowance. But Ymere does not care about existing case law. And because the tenants refuse to sign an anti-squat contract, Ymere is now taking them to court. As if a housing corporation that is under supervision has nothing better to do in these times! Ymere also wanted to 'transfer' other residents with different temporary contracts to the anti-squat agency Interveste, a commercial party that has no responsibility whatsoever for properly housing people and only exists to earn money from vacant real estate. Anti-squat contracts can be canceled every two weeks and the tenant is in fact only serving as a house sitter. Interveste has now been given management of all their 'vacancy' by Ymere, including in Hoofddorp-Oost. Ymere pretends it is 'professional' to outsource the management to Interveste. But in fact Ymere is just trying to shift responsibility and dump their problem to a commercial party that is not accountable to the government. Because Interveste will soon be allowed to evict the dozens of residents en masse, if the demolition plans are still going ahead. In this way Ymere believes that it will keep its hands clean. We already know what Ymere is going to say: 'These people have chosen to live temporarily and in an anti-squat. They know in advance that a temporary contract will expire.' Is more than five years temporary? But perhaps more importantly, the residents in Hoofddorp-Oost can also explain in great detail that there was little question of 'free choice'. On 22 March – long after the end of the 5-year temporary rental period for homes in Hoofddorp-Oost – Ymere announced to all residents that they had to sign a contract with Interveste within two weeks or else leave their home. On behalf of Ymere, Interveste also came to residents' doorsteps during meal times, even called them at work, constantly acting rude and intimidating. The message was: 'Sign an anti-squat contract for € 110 per month or you will be on the street within three weeks.' Residents also had to pay an additional € 160 to Interveste (administration and mediation costs, fire package). Many temporary residents in Het Oude Dorp have now signed under that pressure. Many of them already have enough problems on their mind, little income and no other options for housing in the Haarlemmermeer region. But is a contract signed under duress actually legally valid? From a legal point of view, this could be 'miscarriage' of Ymere, 'deliberate threat', or 'deceit'. *Dwellings in poor condition* In recent years, Ymere has not carried out any maintenance in the Van Lijnden van Hemmenstraat, Gevers van Endegeestraat, Ewijkstraat and Leeghwaterstraat in 'The old village. The houses are in poor condition (draught, dusty, mould). The houses have been made carbon monoxide safe by order of the municipality. Ymere has offered the temporary tenants to install new geysers at a discount (€250). The chimneys were also swept at that time. Many temporary tenants now live in the old village (on the basis of a vacancy law permit). Their rents vary from € 305 to € 340 (for a 5-room apartment). Some have lived there for about 5 years, others shorter. There are also residents with a free loan agreement with Ymere. They pay € 6 in service costs. It is estimated that there are about 11 regular tenants left in the district. A number of children of Ymere employees have also been given a home in the district (free of charge and/or temporary rental). Ymere has therefore been able to profit for years from the hefty rents paid by the temporary tenants for old, moldy buildings, and now wants to get rid of them like old rubbish. Demolition and new construction projects are now being put on hold across the country. As a result of government policy, housing associations have to make substantial cutbacks. Moreover, in December 2012, Ymere was placed under stricter supervision by the Central Housing Fund (CFV). The reason is a decline in Ymere's assets, which means that the loan portfolio is starting to become a greater risk. (see article in Parool 3/12/2012: Link
In addition, the municipality no longer issues vacancy permits for this district. It is unclear why. If the municipality no longer wishes to issue vacancy permits, it must actively ensure that flex residents become normal tenants again. The municipality of Haarlemmermeer/and its politicians also have a role to play in this! Where are they?
*A nasty **national trend*
The kind of one-two punch between housing corporations and anti-squat agencies like
Ymere and Interveste in Hoofddorp-East are becoming more common. Especially in
all demolition projects that have been put on hold by corporations. The
government thinks that extending the vacancy law from 5 to 7 years will
offers a solution in such cases. But that just makes sure
residences are kept out of regular rental for longer, which is tolerated for longer
becomes that housing associations do not carry out maintenance and act as bad
landlord behave and above all that more tenants are forced to stay longer
live without tenancy rights. Because what affordable alternatives are there on the
housing market? Housing associations must have regular social housing
rent, not temporarily. That also means that they scrap and
new construction projects must be tightly planned so that the period of vacancy is
demolition is kept as short as possible. If the vacancy lasts longer than five years,
must a corporation take its responsibility and ensure that the
sitting residents receive an ordinary 'fixed' rental contract.