Stop the sale of social rental homes

close up niet te koopToday became published this letter in the Volkskrant. Active tenant Frans van Tartwijk drafted this together with 27 supporting (tenant) organizations and persons. Join the active tenant struggle vbecause there is no affordable housing left because of this crooked policy.

Do you also want to do something about waiting lists, rent increases, sales and flexibilisation? On May 30, 13:00 we will visit Stadgenoot in Amsterdam. Right to City for everyone! Will you join us?

Stop the sale of social rental homes

Housing associations were once established to protect people with a low income against high rents and to offer them the security of fixed rental contracts. Once you have lived in a social rental home, you could live in a relaxed way all your life. Rents rose indexed to follow inflation. The points system determined what a reasonable rent was. A house was awarded points for quality, size, and condition. The sale value of the house was not included.

Unfortunately, social renting has been in jeopardy for years. Many felt that more market forces would make everything better. The corporations became a kind of corporations. Market forces also meant that when a house became vacant or renovated, rents could be increased. The new tenant immediately started paying considerably more. Rental properties also received points for the (fictitious) sales value of that property for the first time. For example, Dutch tenants have started to pay an increasing proportion of their income in rent: in the 1970s this was about fifteen percent, now many people pay almost a third of their income in rent.

Focus on the mid-range

Unlike buyers, tenants do not benefit from the increase in the value of their home, but they will pay more and more for it. The government has imposed the landlord levy on housing associations. Indirectly, the tenants pay an additional tax. Virtually all tenants (including sitting tenants) will have to deal with rent increases on top of inflation. This, while buyers still receive significant tax benefits in the form of mortgage interest deduction and gift scheme.

Minister Blok is committed to more market forces and fewer social rental homes. Although the demand for affordable rental housing far exceeds the supply, Blok is happy that corporations are selling a lot of social housing. When building is now underway, the emphasis is on the middle segment. That is a rather misleading term for free sector homes where rents are initially between 711 and 1000 euros, but then rise quickly. For the countless people for whom 711 euros is too much money, there is little left. An elderly tenant who can no longer climb the stairs no longer stands a chance of an accessible and affordable home in 'his' neighbourhood. A starter can shake it, especially in the cities.

Temporary leases are marketed as a solution for first-time renters, but they are of course a fundamental violation of tenants' rights. There is only one just solution for scarcity: ensure that there are more affordable rental homes.

In the large cities, the scarcity and pressure on the housing market is greater than elsewhere. The Rotterdam alderman Schneider wants to demolish 20,000 rental homes. He wants to lure better-earning people to Rotterdam, but why should that be at the expense of social tenants?

In the center of Amsterdam, the maximum reasonable rent has increased by tens of percentages in many places within a year by including the WOZ value in the home valuation. Rents will continue to rise. The corporations sell their rental properties in prime locations. Add to that the super rich who come to buy some buildings in Amsterdam and we are where no one says they want to go: in the shared city.

Market Fundamentalists

VVD, D66 and CDA want to continue on this road. If they get the chance, the stock of affordable social housing will become smaller and smaller and soon no one with a low income will be able to live in the centers of the cities. Maybe next it's the rent allowance's turn? Current policymakers are market fundamentalists: they only know one solution, while it has been clear for years that more market forces are not the solution, but the problem. And the Labor Party? The PvdA is filing down the sharp edges of the policy.

We as tenants argue in favor of a fundamentally different approach: housing associations could once again be established that are truly shared property of the residents. Or a system in which all tenants pay 20 percent of their income in rent. None of the 2.9 million renting households has anything to gain from the current policy. The rent increases, the landlord levy, the flexibilization of renting and the sale of social housing must now stop.


Frans van Tartwijk, tenant, Amsterdam

Tenant interest South, Amsterdam

FAIR CITY, platform, Amsterdam

George Verhaegen, Marco van Lent, Tenants' Association Feijenoord, Rotterdam

Ruud van Zwol, chairman of the Regional Tenants' Council, Region of Utrecht (RHB) chairman of Residential Speech, de Bilt

Willem Waterreus, member of the Housing Association Association Council and CDA member

Bond Precaire Woonvormen

Tenants' association Vreewijk, Rotterdam

Residents Organization Vreewijk, Rotterdam

Workgroup Housing FNV Amsterdam

Anne Jan de Graaf, FNV Kiem

Max van den Berg, chairman of the tenants' association de Klink, Nijmegen

Luuk Roossien, chairman tenants' association Patrimonium Vinkhuizen, Groningen

Tenants' Association Center, Amsterdam

Tenants Association Oud-West, Amsterdam

Joke van der Beek, independent chairman of the Urban Tenants Platform, 's-Hertogenbosch

Henk Oostland, chairman of the Tenants Platform MEVM (Friesland/Drenthe)

East tenants' association, Amsterdam

De Pijp tenants' association, Amsterdam

EMCEMO, Euro-Mediterranean Center for Migration and Development, Amsterdam

Affordable Living Initiative Amsterdam-North

Social Assistance Association

HTIB, Turkish Workers' Association in the Netherlands, Amsterdam

Westerpark tenants' association, Amsterdam

Corrie Nieuwland, Tenants Council Albanianae, Alphen aan de Rijn

Syl van Evert, quartermaster Urban Tenants Dome Nijmegen io

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