Housing Corporation fellow townsman and anti-squat agency Anti-Squat BV at the end of 2010 dozens of temporary residents of flats in Platanenweg and Olmenweg threatened to put on the street. Due to years of postponement of restructuring in the Parooldriehoek in Amsterdam East, five flats with social housing had been withdrawn from regular rental for more than ten years.
Stadgenoot wanted to evict about 90 anti-squatters, who first lived there under temporary lease contracts, to make way for students (campus contracts). The anti-squat residents, including a few families, refused to leave because the houses would not be demolished in the next five years. Both Stadgenoot and Anti-Kraak BV had promised them that they could continue to live until the demolition.
The lied and furious residents organized themselves into a residents' committee, held many protests, offered to pay rent and even wrote an alternative development plan for the neighborhood that would allow them to continue living there. Local tenants' organisations, the BPW, other action groups, student unions and politicians, the dutch housing association and tenancy law lawyers all rallied behind this residents' group. But Stadgenoot stubbornly helped full and eventually forced the eviction of the homes through the courts.
A few brave residents appealed. The proceedings on the merits could be conducted with financial and legal support from various rental law funds. And now, almost three years later, the verdict is in. The Court ruled in the residents' favor: the anti-squat situation was not 'short-term in nature' but in fact just a regular rental situation.
At the time, the residents were wrongly forced to vacate the homes. It is interesting to consider legal consideration 3.13. They had and still have a normal lease with Anti-Squat, partly in view of the fact that the options for temporary letting under the Vacancy Act have been exhausted, the Court of Appeal ruled. This is a very nice statement that will apply to many resident groups. It is sad that these tenants have already been evicted. Return is not possible because the houses have already been rented out to others. Stadgenoot and/or Anti-Squat will therefore have to come up with concrete compensation.
Temporarily exchanged for temporary?
On January 25, 2011, residents of the Parooldriehoek held a demonstration at the office of housing corporation Stadgenoot. Spokesperson Mrs. de Haas of Stadgenoot then stated: “We are not circumventing the rent protection, we use the possibilities that are available and we do it in this way.” The fact that the Court is now poking through this construction is a major boost in the struggle to curb anti-squat constructionn sets the BPW. Stadgenoot tried to exchange one group of temporary residents (people in an anti-squat position) for people with another temporary contract (campus contract). Promising "customization" sounded very "nice" even then, but in practice it simply meant eviction of tenants. However, it does not appear that Stadgenoot has learned from this. Despite all the problems associated with the use of precarious and temporary contracts, Stadgenoot recently presented the 5 year contract. The BPW strongly agrees with tenant organization who states that taking away rent protection is not a solution to the scarcity on the housing market. The problems on the housing market and the growing insecurity of livelihoods among tenants only seem to be getting bigger instead of smaller.
The BPW is committed to a good housing market with affordable, stable and safe housing for everyone. It is an undesirable development that more and more people who find it difficult to find a home end up in temporary and precarious forms of housing.
Watch the video report of the demonstration here.
Read it here entire judgment about the Parooldriehoek case.
Read one here backstory about the inhabitants of the Parooldriehoek.