Numbers of fewer evictions are distorting. Flex tenants are not included in the overview.
There was good news last week. “Fewer evictions again in 2016” headlined the Volkskrant. Aedes, the sector association for housing associations, was also positive about the 14% reduction compared to 2015. This reduction was apparent from a survey by Aedes among 185 housing associations.
Still, something gnaws when you read the numbers. They hide something very important. People with a temporary or flexible lease do not seem to be included.
“Offering help works better than sending a reminder. Housing associations do everything they can to prevent eviction: house visits, calling tenants, referring to assistance agencies and organizing behind-the-door projects. Housing associations also conclude covenants with municipalities, welfare organizations and debt counseling.” This is what Aedes states in its news item.
At the Bond Precaire Woonvorm we are sincerely happy that the number of evictions is falling for the third year in a row. Given the context of increased housing poverty whereby wages have fallen and rents have risen sharply. You do not wish anyone the social misery and disruptive effect of losing a roof over your head on people, families and social (neighbourhood) structures.
Yet. When asked, Tonny Dijkhuizen, press spokesperson for Aedes, cannot indicate why temporary tenants have not been included in the figures. “We didn't make that distinction. We do not pretend to give a complete picture.” In any case, flexible rent has not been identified as a category or cause for eviction such as rent arrears(85%), subletting (6%), nuisance (4%), soft and/or hard drugs (4%), and this raises questions.
A word about evictions: flex rental.
Because flex tenants: there are more and more of them. By law flow of rental market (2016), the youth contract (2016), the extension of the vacancy law in (2013), the use of lawless anti-squat (2010) With the introduction of the campus contract (2006) and many other flex laws and flex contracts, more and more (semi-)legal forms of precarious, temporary and precarious housing have emerged.
As a rule, no social plan is made for these tenants to prevent eviction or to guarantee replacement housing. Even though as a flex tenant you pay the rent on time every month, with all these share, loan, hotel, mobile, monitored flow or otherwise flex “concepts” the tenant will no longer receive social protection (rent rights) in return. For example, flex tenants now have no (social) right to replacement housing and relocation expenses at the end of the contract. The basic idea “whoever pays the rent is assured of a roof over her head” is passé.
The legal practice of evictions.
In practice, the consequences of contract termination and eviction are exactly the same. The tenant is forced to leave the house with short notice and is on the street, without a social plan. The social misery of the growing group of 'flex nomads' who are forced to commute between temporary housing is frequently described on this website. This, while rent protection was once invented as a right for all to protect tenants in a market of scarcity. With waiting lists of 8 years on average, the scarcity and growing housing shortage is still there.
The numbers are distorting.
In their research, the housing associations did not distinguish between rent and flexible rent. Then you count 4800 evictions, the main reason being rent arrears. But about the precarious situation and the evictions of the now 10,000ths of flex tenants and people living with an uncertain contract. not a word is spoken. (Read the incomplete list here of the number of people with a temporary contract drawn up by the Ministry). In the precarious rental market, paying the rent is no longer enough to keep a roof over your head. Only looking at rent arrears is therefore selective looking.
The figures of Aedes therefore hide a lot. For a growing and diverse group of “flex tenants” social rights have been rationalized away from statistics. They don't exist or maybe. Their problems are denied. That is not correct.
The changing relationships as a result of the flexibilisation of renting led to politically legitimized housing insecurity. This requires appropriate and new social legislation that does guarantee inclusiveness.
Our social movement Bond Precaire Woonvorm fights against the emergence of class B tenants and advocates tenancy law for everyone. Stop evictions and make leases more flexible, give all tenants, especially the group of vulnerable "flex" tenants, the right to replacement housing and relocation expenses.
Corporations, aid workers and governments are doing a great job of reducing the number of evictions.
Now, for the sake of convenience, take every tenant with you and do not distinguish between tenants. Be a corporation that stands for all tenants and leaves no one behind. Because we all want safe, secure and affordable living, right?
Sources: From top to bottom.
Photo Residential struggle flex nomads is expanding
Aedes Corporation Monitor Evictions and Rent Arrears