Students who rent a house from DUWO, De Key, and other housing associations sound the alarm. The pandemic exposes their precarious income and housing situation and threatens their right to housing.
Many people are in need during this Corona crisis. Students in the Netherlands are also having a hard time at the moment. Most worked in the hard-hit hospitality sector or have zero-hours contracts. Due to the outbreak of the Corona crisis, they suddenly lost their income. Moreover, they cannot rely on social protection measures. As a result, they can no longer pay their rent and risk eviction.
DUWO students in the Jacques Veltstraat in Amsterdam therefore decided to take action. Several times the students tried to enter into a constructive dialogue with DUWO, but time and again they were ignored. Until there is one message on the website popped upAs much as we understand the difficult situation for the students, financial compensation in the form of halving the rents is not feasible. If we miss this income, this will have major consequences for the continuity of the organization and therefore also for our objective of offering affordable housing. We cannot and will not take that risk, also in the public interest and for future generations of students. studenten In other words, we understand that you are having a hard time, but we still prefer to report this to the weakest party instead of stepping together to the most powerful player in this game: the government.
For our Minister of Education, the motto was: borrow some more. She therefore urged students to get even further into debt.
In that message we read an extremely interesting interpretation of DUWO's raison d'être, namely the provision of affordable housing: 'It is of great importance for the pursuit of this goal to continue to correct the rents for inflation, even in times when students may be having a harder time financially.' Then tenant Lila actually saw no other options:i lost all my income and as a non eu student i cant even borrow. What do they want me to do now?¨ On top of this, for Lila, colleges and universities set up little or no emergency funds and that she has to continue paying tuition fees. She decided to go a step further with her fellow residents: they have joined forces in the action group Rent Strike Amsterdam and found allies and allies among De Key tenants.
DUWO refused to reduce their rental charges and also encouraged tenants to go further into debt. They have also asked De Key for a rent suspension for its residents. To date no answer has been received. They were only offered individual repayment plans that postpone the problem instead of solving it. The decision to increase the rent in July also adds salt in the wound and exacerbates their vulnerable and stressful situation.
Students from outside the EU and students who study longer cannot borrow (anymore) are excluded.
These students cannot count on the national government either. For example, Minister Ollongren spoke out against general rent measures because she assumes that the income-related measures are sufficient to enable tenants to pay their rent. However, the students are not entitled to any compensation. Moreover, it has already become apparent that its moral appeal and verbal agreements do not guarantee the prevention of evictions. For our Minister of Education, the motto was: borrow some more. She therefore urged students to get even further into debt. This makes no sense. Students from outside the EU and students who study longer cannot borrow (anymore) are excluded. For those who can borrow even more, increasing the mountain of debt is not a solution. It mortgages their future with interest.
Faced with these unsatisfactory responses, the students decided to communicate their demands in a open letter and a petition which you can read here. Their specific requirements are:
1. Rent waiver during the COVID-19 crisis
2. No rent increase in 2020
3. Binding Measures to Ban Evictions
4. Binding measures against charging collection costs
Bond Precaire Woonvorm supports these students in their struggle and endorses their demands. Everyone has the right to affordable and quality housing. Especially in these times of a public health crisis. Students in precarious situations cannot be saddled with the heavy burdens of this crisis. We call on the housing associations to try with the students to find a solution with the government and ask everyone to share the open letter from the students.
Are you a student with payment problems? Follow RentstrikeAmsterdam on Instagram and Facebook, sign the petition to show your support or send an email to: email@example.com.
Do you also want to organize a rent strike or take action against too high rents? Contact up with BPW.