HELP! Rising rents force tenants out of the city

Logo_19o_NLActive tenant Frans van Tartwijk wrote a letter together with a number of tenants' organizations to discuss the precarious situation of tenants in their cities. Last Thursday, the letter published in the NRC.  The BPW is very enthusiastic about this bottom-up self-organization. It is high time for a broad social movement that will demand the “Right to Housing”, where politicians fail to do so. But the fight for a just city where tenants and residents are in charge, we don't just win. Will you join us?

The letter

Renting in the city

Politicians and policymakers insist that low-income tenants should be able to continue living in the centers of cities, but the opposite is happening. Rents are rising and housing associations are selling countless rental properties, making the scarcity even greater. Amsterdam has traditionally been a city with a relatively large number of affordable rental housing, and the city has therefore always had a friendly and colorful character, but as current developments continue, the center and the neighborhoods just outside become a place for the rich and the limitless rich. . That may be nice for the alderman for finance, but terrible for the people who live there now. This is also a problem in other popular and therefore expensive cities.

Everyone in town is going to pay more

Most incumbent tenants in the cities have so far felt more or less safe. If you have been living in a (social) rental home for some time, your rent is usually still affordable, but the introduction of new cabinet policy abandons an important principle: people no longer want to protect the sitting tenants, but increase their rent extra because they believe that they live too cheaply. Tenants in Amsterdam and other cities are being attacked on several fronts:

WOZ valuation

An example: AV is in her early 60s, she has lived for 19 years in a 42 m2 house on the 4th floor on the Overtoom in Amsterdam. She has a very low income and a reasonable rent. There is no elevator and the kitchen and bathroom are old. Since she has lived here, Amsterdam has become extremely expensive: the WOZ value of her home has now risen to 225,000 euros. AV has nowhere to go: she cannot buy a house and moving to another rental house in Amsterdam has become far too expensive. Because she has some savings, she is not entitled to housing benefit


As of 1 July 2016, the government wants to base the rent increases on the valuation of the home. Because as of 1 October 2015, the WOZ value of a home is a major factor in the valuation of that home, tenants in desirable neighborhoods and cities will pay extra rent increases: the housing associations will then be given the opportunity to increase the rent of AV annually by 2.5% plus inflation. to increase. AV likes to live on the Overtoom, but given her financial situation it is uncertain whether she will be able to pay her rent in the longer term. There are hundreds of thousands of tenants like AV: people who are entitled to social housing in terms of income, but who do not receive a housing benefit.


Renting in the cities is virtually impossible for new tenants. By including the WOZ value, vacant rental properties in popular locations immediately go up with a large jump in rent. Due to the increasing scarcity, waiting times are even longer.


Tenants who earn more
It is not only 'social tenants' with a tight budget that are having a hard time. Minister Blok has already indicated that he wants to continue to increase the rents for the so-called 'skewed residents'. Also renters with middle and even higher incomes are slowly starting to notice that they better make room for the super rich. Their rents are hardly protected and they have been receiving substantial rent increases every year for some time.


Tenant rights under pressure

The new housing agreement considers the possibilities of breaking into existing contracts and even temporary leases. That is a major violation of tenancy law: a landlord may not just evict a tenant from a rental home, and a rental contract should be valid for an indefinite period of time.


Participation and consultation have failed

Participation bodies such as the Amsterdam Tenants' Association and the Woonbond seem to resign themselves to the developments and are doing no more than an attempt to slow down the policy. This is incomprehensible to the tenants: hence this letter. It is not about a few percent here or there, but about the fundamental choices that the government makes. These must be discussed. Why do tenants who have been living in a house for twenty years suddenly live 'too cheap'? Why has renting in the Netherlands started to absorb an increasing share of incomes? Why will tenants no longer be able to live in the centers of cities?


What to do?

We call on politicians to put an end to this policy of demolition.

The constant rise in rents in the cities must be stopped. Renting in the city should once again become a realistic option for starters. Sitting tenants may not receive additional rent increases. The rights of tenants must be guaranteed. The landlord levy should disappear. The sale of social housing must stop and affordable rental housing must be built.


Frans van Tartwijk, tenant, Amsterdam

Tenant interests South, Amsterdam

Westerpark tenants' association, Amsterdam

De Pijp tenants' association, Amsterdam

Tenants' Association Center, Amsterdam

East tenants' association, Amsterdam

Affordable Living Initiative Amsterdam North

Tenants' association de Baarsjes & Bos en Lommer, Amsterdam

Tenants Association Oud-West, Amsterdam

Southeast tenants' association, Amsterdam

Residents' group Spaarndammerbuurt, Amsterdam

HTIB, Turkish Workers' Association in the Netherlands, Amsterdam

EMCEMO, Amsterdam

Workgroup Housing FNV Amsterdam

Bond Precaire Woonvormen

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