Since spring 2013, Rimke and Michael have been living at 19 Rouenhof in Landgraaf. The centuries-old building stood empty and was sold by Rabobank to the municipality of Landgraaf in 2014. The residents were in talks with the municipality about a co-operation to be developed for artists and creatives in this location. But the municipality has meanwhile made a deal with another artist who wants to buy the property with reservation.
Temporarily exchanged for temporary.
Despite the fact that the property has been sold subject to reservation in a shadowy way Ad Hoc now that the current residents are leaving the property because the owner is said to have canceled the contract with them. In reality, according to a council decision of the municipality, this is to make way for another Ad Hoc resident, in this case also the intended new owner of the property, on yet another lawless contract. According to the BPW, this fits entirely into the undesirable trend to exchange tenants for each other. Residents therefore do not agree with this eviction.
Tenants not borrowers
Before occupancy, residents have proposed to rent the property directly from the municipality of Landgraaf. However, the municipality did not want to do the rental itself. Former manager, the Property Protector, was pushed aside, through an ingenious outsourcing construction she engaged Ad Hoc to “arrange” the lease. Every month residents pay 800 euros in rent for the residential and commercial spaces. The contract between Ad Hoc and the municipality of Landgraaf now shows that the municipality receives 50 euros per rented unit in rent from Ad Hoc. Ad Hoc, the owner simply pays part of the rent that the so-called “lenders” (read tenants with a disguised rental contract,) cough up monthly.
Residents developed a plan based on their precarious rental situation together with architects and creatives. They hoped in the long run to buy the property instead of renting it with a precarious contract. They wanted to give their stay in the building, including creative and cultural activities, a more sustainable character. The municipality was positive and invited them to present it. Residents then asked for information about the purchase of the property, but the municipality never provided it. They also never received a response to their proposal. "It's inappropriate how the municipality and Ad Hoc treated us, they deliberately left us in the dark and in the meantime pursued their own agenda," says Michael.
Visitors and Ad Hoc committed trespassing on numerous occasions. In the 2 years there have been 51 entry into their living and working space, sometimes by appointment but often not. “Several times, strangers took pictures of my private spaces and documents.” says Rimke.
Creative entrepreneurs and lawless real estate pawns create a stir.
“Former alderman Andy Dritty of GBBL told us that we could generate 'commotion' for the building from the temporary use. This could lead to a permanent destination. In the meantime we came up with a plan for the building and we organized everything. Now we as members of the “creative class” once again used as a billboard and then ignored. As a temporary resident, entrepreneur, citizen and developer, we do not feel taken seriously. But we won't let ourselves be driven away anymore!" says Rimke.
Abolish anti-squat and provide housing.
The BPW is committed to the abolition of the lawless anti-squat construction, livelihood security and more rights for tenants. Residents state “We know that we are part of a growing group that does not see its rights guaranteed in several areas and thus ends up in precariousness. That time is over. We are now jointly demanding our housing rights.”
Tenant struggle continues!
The BPW also does not leave it at that "It is crazy that municipalities and governments out there to serve the public interest are still doing business with a company like Ad Hoc. In this way, an attempt is made to put all rent protection out of play, but in the meantime, rent tokens are received. The government, in this case the Municipality of Landgraaf, is thus circumventing its own rental legislation that must protect tenants against structural abuses.”
House of Representatives.
The House of Representatives recently voted against the motion to curb the lawless anti-squat system. Politicians therefore keep the abuses in anti-squatting in their own hands. Nevertheless, if the flexibilization of our right to housing and the breakdown of our rent and housing rights continues even further, more direct confrontations between the precarious tenant class and the political system will seem unavoidable. The tenant struggle for affordable housing, work and public space continues.”
Residents are assisted by the BPW and a lawyer to defend their living and working space, but can already use help. Support the residents.
Would you like more information or would you like to get in touch with the tenants? Then take Contact up with the BPW.