OPINION. Market forces in healthcare are perhaps the most important theme of the parliamentary elections of 15 March. However, market forces in rents are hardly a topic of discussion. That is actually strange, because if the current policy is continued, many Dutch people will pay more and more rent.
Since October 2015, the WOZ value (the notional sales value) of a social rental home has been included in the number of points for that home. The number of points determines the maximum rent for a social rental home. Now, a year and a half later, house prices in Amsterdam have exploded, prices in other cities are rising sharply and prices are rising across the country. This has major consequences for the maximum rent of a home.
An example According to data from the !WOON foundation, a rental house of 53 m-2 on the Jacob van Lennepkade in Amsterdam West has a WOZ value of EUR 323,000. That house has a number of points of 155, 79 of which are the result of the WOZ value. The other 76 points represent quality and surface. More than half of the rent for that house is therefore already following the market. This development is strongest in Amsterdam, but with the rise in house prices, rents in the rest of the country will also rise further.
Extra rent increases
When a house exceeds 145 points, it ends up in the free sector. Despite agreements made that should have a restraining effect on this, a lot of homes with a score of more than 145 are being liberalized. For example, the number of social rental housing continues to fall. Rents of deregulated homes in Amsterdam are above a thousand euros.
Sitting tenants will not immediately pay the maximum rent. Their rents are increasing in steps: this year by a maximum of 2.8 %, and for households that earn more than 40349 euros, that is even 4.3%. Because the difference between the maximum rent and what tenants pay now is only increasing, tenants can expect additional rent increases for a long time. It is often soothingly said that the rent increases are absorbed by the rising rent allowance, but the expenditure on housing allowance is soaring. In addition, the 1.5 million tenants who are entitled to social housing, but not to housing benefit, are not taken into account.
According to the housing association, 18 % of the tenants now have structural difficulties in paying their rent. Due to the inclusion of the WOZ value, rents in the cities are higher than elsewhere, and the percentage of tenants experiencing difficulties is therefore higher. In the 1970s, tenants paid 15% of their income in rent, now that has doubled and more than 30 %. Since 2012, rents have increased by nearly 15%. Why actually? Tenants in the free sector have a higher income but often just as much difficulty paying their rent. The current rental policy is bad for all tenants.
Tenants must realize that affordable rents are under pressure and inner cities are becoming unaffordable for them. On 18-12-2014, the House of Representatives voted in favor of a motion to evaluate the inclusion of the WOZ value in the home valuation system after 1 July of this year. The 2nd Chamber just elected could therefore do something. Tenants are therefore well advised to check which parties are opposed to market forces in rents. The nearly 3 million renting households in the Netherlands together carry a lot of weight. Together we can stop market forces. Renters vote!
This letter was drawn up by Frans van Tartwijk, tenant, Amsterdam and was sent today also published in the Parool.
This letter is supported by:
Bond Precaire Woonvormen
Affordable Living Initiative Amsterdam-North
Feijenoord in action, Rotterdam
Tenants' association Vreewijk, Rotterdam
Residents Organization Vreewijk, Rotterdam
Tenant interests South, Amsterdam
Luuk Rosien, President HPV, Groningen
Tenants' association de Klink, Nijmegen
Jan C. Zwarts, chairman Tenants Network Mitros, Utrecht
Fair City, Amsterdam
Corrie Nieuwland, chairman of the Abanianae tenants' council, Alphen aan de Rijn
chairman tenant platform MEVM (housing corporation Actium), Assen
Social assistance association, Amsterdam
East tenants' association, Amsterdam
Tenants' association de Baarsjes/Bos & Lommer, Amsterdam
Tenants' association van der Pekbuurt, Amsterdam
Jan Reinders, Tenants' Association de Pijp, Amsterdam
Ruud van Zwol, chairman of Residential Speech, de Bilt
Boudewijn Rückert, residents' committee Vincent van Gogh East, Amsterdam
Westerpark tenants' association, Amsterdam
Tenants Association Oud-West, Amsterdam
Network Local FNV Amsterdam
Action group Not For Sale, Amsterdam
Fred Duindam, Tenant Affairs, Noordwijkerhout
Residents' committee Bellamy Noorlander, Amsterdam
Residents' committee Noorlandercomplex, Amsterdam
LongStay Action Committee? No Way!, Amsterdam
Stichting Residents Platform Oud-West, Amsterdam
Residents' association Overtoom, Amsterdam
Fons Rietmeijer, former corporation director
Jan de Vletter, former corporation director
Jan Weijenborg, community worker, Amsterdam North
Working Group Equal Treatment Public Housing
Tenants Association Amsterdam Center