On May 19, Minister Blok came on a working visit to speak with a number of flex tenants who are affiliated with the Bond Precaire Woonvorm. Our expectation came true: The Minister continues to refuse to take responsibility for the structural abuses in anti-squat and continues his plan to transform tenants and home seekers into flexible tenants with fewer and fewer rights.
Watch the report of the day below. BPW episode 7 “Ban anti-squat, give tenants rights”.
The minister's position is very clear: “don't you like flexible living?”: then move or go to court. But don't ask the government to do something for your problem". No step is taken to U.S right to decent housing by law.
The BPW states “We should not expect anything from this Minister, we will have to claim and protect our rights of residence through direct action. The account of Blok's disastrous social housing policy can now be drawn: Rent increases, rent flexibilisation, tenant tax, poverty, large-scale demolition of social housing and ice-cold neo-liberal eviction policy. “If 30% of tenants live in poverty and insecurity and the Minster 'just' raises rents, then it's time to leave! This puppet of the real estate companies does not serve our interests but only the interests of people with power and money”
The Minister's comments are a totally disrespectful signal to the 10,000 people who live in flexible rental forms and demand protection. Even if you choose this, or you are forced to live there. Every tenant should be treated with respect regardless of individual position of the person”.
Later in the day, the working visit went to a building that had been nominated by anti-squat agencies of the VLBN. The building was "owned" by housing corporation Woonstad. Who rented it through anti-squat construction and brokerage pending renovation. When asked why anti-squatting had been rented out here for 1.5 years instead of temporarily rented out, an anti-squat agency answered. “That's what the market demands, so we deliver it”. The Minister nodded in agreement; After all, freedom of contract and lawlessness are sacred to the neo-liberal.
The BPW argued that this is in conflict with the passed motion that obliges housing associations such as Woonstad to do this through temporary letting. To this the minister replied "that is a political question, we are here to listen to the resident". In short, even if the minister is directly confronted with adopted legislation and regulations, it remains 2 hands on 1 for the property managers.
The BPW asked the student resident, would you like to be entitled to rehousing as a flex tenant? “Yes please” replied the resident “that would be a great comfort”. Then the minister interrupted “but would you also be willing to pay 300 euros extra rent for that? After all, getting rights costs money in this country!”.
It is becoming increasingly clear that legal protection is, if these political developments continue, only for buyers and people with "enough" money. This while rent protection is there for people in vulnerable positions, such as many flex tenants.
The government has a constitutional obligation to provide sufficient affordable housing of good quality. The fact that the Minister of Housing does not see this once again demonstrates the importance of social struggle and actions from below.
That is why the BPW states: Ban anti-squat, give tenants rights! The housing struggle continues unabated, “we will let these regents bend until every tenant has a good, affordable and safe house”.
Living: temporary, flexible and expensive? Stop flexibilization of our rent! Read more about the bill to make renting flexible here.
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