De Groene writes a good background story about anti-squat abuses

14235385586_2ee486efb7_z-1The research editors of the Groene Amsterdammer are writing an extensive story this week about anti-squatting and the abuses in the anti-squat sector. 'The vacancy managers have started doing what the housing associations were once established for: offering housing to people with low incomes. But unlike renting, anti-squatting is an unprotected, unregulated and insecure form of living', concludes de Groene.

'After squatting was banned in 2010 and municipalities had to actively combat vacancy, a shadowy vacancy industry emerged in the Netherlands. Tens of thousands of people live on 'anti-squat' contracts, without the government having any insight into this. This mainly concerns vulnerable groups at the bottom of the housing market,' said de Groene in a press release.

The Bond Precaire Woonvorm contributed to this thorough background article on anti-squat by making its files available to the investigative journalists of De Groene. They spent months doing extensive research and touring many players in the world of living. They found out, for example, that the national government has given 200 offices, barracks and other buildings to anti-squat agencies and the largest municipalities together about 900. The five largest housing associations in the Netherlands jointly ended up with 1,100 homes in which a multitude of anti-squatters live.

The investigative journalists also encountered outright abuses in their investigative work. Not surprising, according to the BPW, because it encounters such abuses on a daily basis. But it is very nice that independent journalists have finally taken the trouble to write this down seriously. De Groene writes: 'An anti-squatter has few rights, but many duties. One of these is the empty delivery of the house, including the removal of stoves and floors. In Zaandam this led to unrest when it later turned out that anti-squatters had removed floors in homes containing asbestos without adequate protection. Also in the Rotterdam district New Crooswijk anti-squat residents had to remove floors before asbestos research was done.'

Read the entire press release on the website of the Groene Amsterdammer, 'Tens of thousands of people live virtually without rights due to the growth of the vacancy industry' 

The Vacancy Industry. Sorry you signed.

Photo CC: Nicolas Eckhart

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