In The Hague, a young couple threatens to be evicted from their home next month, because a large investment company (Orange Capital Partners) wants to terminate their temporary contract. They have to leave the house, which they have been looking for for almost 6 months, after 12 months. She tried to claim their right to rent protection and to lower the €300 too high rent of their social rental home that was rented out in the private sector with the rent committee.
On Wednesday, September 2, the BPW is organizing a promotion in front of real estate investors, at 4 pm at Minervalaan 63 in Amsterdam. Join and support the action via Facebook. After delivering our demands to OCP, we will also hand over our demands to politicians. Government policy is responsible for facilitating housing insecurity and exploitation by real estate investors.
Tenant campaign Orange Capital Partners
Minervalaan 63, Amsterdam
During their search, Nick (24) and Stefany (23) were forced to move twice in 3 months and share a temporary student room, before they could finally move into their current rental home in September 2019. Had it taken a few days longer, they would have literally been on the street. A year later, the two are again forced to move and thus thrown back into the same precarious situation in which they were so long a year ago.
In September 2019, they sign a temporary contract for '2 years or less' with Vivada Properties I BV, part of the larger Orange Capital Partners (OCP). Orange Capital Partners is one of the largest real estate investors in the Netherlands with a housing stock of over 3000 homes with a total value of 2 billion euros. It is clear that OCP wants to have as little to do with the tenants of the more than 3000 homes as possible. The management of the buildings is handed over to MVGM Wonen, which takes care of all the dirty work, only the rent is collected by OCP. It is also a letter from MVGM that falls through the bus to Nick and Stefany on August 1, 2020, containing the icy announcement that the temporary contract will expire after 1 year, per September 30.
It is not clear from the letter why OCP considers it permissible to put the couple back on the street after 1 year, in the midst of a pandemic. MVGM cannot answer this either, they only receive a monthly list of contracts that must be terminated from their client. OCP itself also does not feel any responsibility to explain why they choose to evict vulnerable tenants.
Nick and Stefany decided to take action and force an eviction statement from OCP. After announcing a action campaign in collaboration with BPW, the tone at OCP changes and they suddenly come up with a statement that leaks on all sides. The house, which was renovated very recently, should now also be made more sustainable, apparently this was already in the prospect before the start of the temporary lease contract. OCP cannot explain why the tenants were not aware of this before the start of their lease and why the renovations were not carried out at the same time as previous renovations. Evidence or justification that the planned sustainability measures will yield anything at all in the home can also not be provided. There are also plenty of options for carrying out sustainability improvements in an inhabited state, but thinking about a solution in which Nick and Stefany are not forced to move is too much to ask. Instead, a replacement, overpriced free sector home is offered far away, provided that this offer is accepted within a very short period of time.
These annual evictions are based, among other things, on the Rental Market Transition Act. This law has made it a lot easier for landlords to offer temporary contracts and to evict tenants without giving a reason — so they do this en masse. Particularly in the cities, there is virtually no housing in the free sector that is not temporarily offered. At the end of the temporary rental period, the contract must be canceled or automatically changed into a contract for an indefinite period. However, the safe path for investors is always to cancel. Of the 72,000 temporary contracts offered by investors and individuals in 2018, only 1.6% has been extended (CBS, 2018). This means that landlords are not tied to a tenant who is suddenly entitled to a number of things, such as a maximum rent increase. By offering temporary contracts, investors have the opportunity to easily exchange tenants who question their rent and increase the rent permanently. For example, the temporary contracts continue to generate income for the investor, manager and broker and the tenant is increasingly stripped down. Everything indicates that Nick and Stefany are the victims of such a switch trick. The housing stock is not improving, society has no interest in it, you only give an investor such as OCP the opportunity to exploit the situation on the housing market even further and you keep young, vulnerable tenants in a vicious circle of housing insecurity.
Founder of Orange Capital Partners, Victor van Bommel, said in an interview with the Parool that he is annoyed that his company is lumped together with slum landlords. After all, they adhere to the rules, rents cannot simply be raised and tenants in the Netherlands enjoy good rent protection. However, the story of Nick and Stefany shows a completely different side of Orange Capital Partners. The rent of their home is probably more than €300 higher than what is allowed, and there is no question of tenant protection with temporary contracts either.
These excessive rents charged by Orange Capital Partners are made possible by a kind of tolerance construction of the central government. There is a maximum rent for social housing, based on a scoring system. When your home rises above the liberalization limit (€737 in 2020), the home automatically enters the free sector, and landlords can decide for themselves about the amount of the rent. There is just no one who checks and sanctions landlords whether they do not charge liberalized prices for homes that actually belong in the social segment.
The responsibility for this rests with, yes, only the tenant himself, who, incidentally, in the case of a temporary free sector home, is given up to 6 months after the end to start a procedure with the rent committee. With the rules for regular renting (are you still following it), you must start applying for such a procedure within 6 months of the start of the lease, otherwise you can no longer start a procedure and no one will ever know whether your landlord actually cheated €300,- a month too much from you.
So if you start such a procedure in time before you pay too much for years, you are almost certain that your landlord will let you leave after a temporary contract. Because even if a tenant wins a procedure with the rent assessment committee and his rent is reduced to below the liberalization limit, your landlord can park a new tenant in the same house after the expiry of your contract and try again whether he gets away with a much too high rent. The new tenant is then again the only one who bears the responsibility to question this rent. All signs indicate that OCP eagerly uses this tolerance construction and therefore removes the couple from their home as quickly as possible, in order to prevent their liberalized social rental home from returning to the social segment and the couple can stay for a fair rent. live.
A combination of the Rental Market Transition Act and the inadequate enforcement of fair rents create a paradisiacal situation for companies and private individuals to earn as much money as possible by converting social rented housing into temporary free sector housing and exploiting tenants. A situation that real estate investors such as Orange Capital Partners are more than happy to take advantage of and which, due to government policy, are also fully within their rights when they rent out homes for hundreds of euros too much and increase the rent without limitation. A climate has arisen where tenants are exploited on all sides and are used for profit maximization and if you as a tenant claim rent protection you will be forced out of your home as quickly as possible. From broker to real estate investor, everyone benefits from the temporary contracts, except the tenants themselves, who are left behind in a system of ever-rising rents and hopeless housing insecurity.
The Bond Precaire Woonvorm therefore firstly demands from Vivada Properties, Orange Capital Partners and MVGM:
1. Stop Nick and Stefany's eviction: make the house more sustainable together with the residents.
2. Provides housing security: give tenants a regular lease.
3. Respect rent protection: reduce the excessive rent to below the legal maximum.
4. Take social responsibility: treat tenants with respect and be open and honest with them.
On Wednesday September 2 2 shall we at 4 pm together with tenants Nick and Stefany hand these requirements over to Vivada Properties/ Orange Capital Partners at their headquarters at the Minervalaan 63 in Amsterdam. We can use all the support in this, so join us! More info on Facebook.
Preventing the eviction of Nick and Stefany does not solve the broader problem. The responsibility for this lies with the government.
The Bond Precaire Woonvorm therefore makes the following demands on politicians:
1. Stop facilitating housing insecurity and exploitation through the Rental Market Transition Act and make regular rental contracts the norm again.
2. Prevent homelessness by exchanging one tenant for another.
3. Make the points system binding and make it an economic offense when landlords charge too much rent.
4. Homes for people, not for profit! Stop the sale and conversion of social rental housing into free sector housing with temporary rental contracts by real estate investors and market parties.
We will also communicate these requirements with the responsible aldermen and MPs in the short term and demand a statement on how it is possible that in times of housing shortage and economic crisis, real estate investors are in control of the housing situation of vulnerable tenants. Do you also rent from Vivada, OCP or another large real estate investor? Then share your story via email@example.com. Want to stay informed about this campaign? Then follow the Facebook or Twitter page of BPW Den Haag or Bond Precaire Woonvorm. Together for housing security!
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