Residents of the former fire station at 19 Laanslootseweg, a building belonging to the municipality of Rotterdam that is rented out by Camelot, are organizing themselves against the impending eviction and demanding housing security. Laurens and Rob, who have lived there for 4 years, and Steffan, who have only been living there for 10 weeks, live in the building. They would be on the street on November 26. To prevent this, BPW and residents therefore started a campaign for housing security.
Rotterdam City Hall, Coolsingel 40
(For an English version of the text, click here)
The barracks residents are taking action because they do not want to become homeless and want to keep the municipality of Rotterdam to the urgent advice of the central government not to make evictions during the corona crisis. The tenants have also been paying more than 950 euros per month to Camelot for 4 years, which cannot be explained as a mere payment for utilities and service costs. In other words: the barracks residents have been paying rent all this time and so it is their right to claim rent protection by residents.
It is unclear what — and when — will happen to the property. Inquiries from residents have so far not been answered, nor was a reasonable ground given for an early eviction within 28 days. Camelot says that the property has been sold, but the Municipality of Rotterdam, Urban Development Department, says that this is not the case and that it will use it again — without offering any clarity for what. She does not respond to questions from residents about this and refuses to enter into a conversation about this. Nor does the municipality offer a solution for their precarious living situation. Any plans were never communicated transparently. Only 10 weeks before the cancellation, a new resident was even placed in the building.
Control and security
Lauren: ''Our situation is indicative of how Camelot interacts with residents. We have little control and certainty. We have been maintaining the building for 4 years, on top of which we pay a considerable amount per month to Camelot. It's a drama: no replacement housing; no transparent communication; a strangulation contract with numerous unreasonable provisions that, among other things, affect privacy and they also provide information that turns out to be incorrect”. The current housing crisis worries Steffan: “Finding affordable housing in this region is super difficult, especially now that the waiting lists are growing due to political policy. We will not allow ourselves to be made homeless, we also deserve decent housing!”
The barracks residents and Bond Precaire Woonvorm therefore demand from the municipality of Rotterdam and Camelot:
1. Stop evictions and offer residents housing security
2. Offers (re)housing guarantee in Rotterdam
This questionable case does not stand alone. For years, Camelot has treated tenants in inhumane ways. This makes it all the more striking that the Municipality of Rotterdam still does business with them regarding the management of their real estate. Last year there were still advisory and room questions about Camelot's dubious practices when 50 people suddenly became homeless. Since the pandemic, BPW has been hundreds of notifications from (flex) tenants who were forced to leave their homes in the middle of the corona crisis, also at buildings of the municipality of Rotterdam.
Stop evictions by law
A legal ban on all evictions is desperately needed to bridge this corona winter. Certainly during a global pandemic, it is the duty of the government to guarantee the right to an affordable and safe home for everyone. Flex tenants and other precarious residents with strangulation contracts should therefore now enjoy extra protection. Minister of Housing Kajsa Ollongren must now finally take responsibility for this, before it goes wrong again (2009)(2013)(2014)(2019)(2020). What kind of city do we live in if the municipality continues to evade its duties and responsibilities in this regard and continues to make people homeless in the middle of a pandemic? And why is the municipality still doing business with this company that cares about rental legislation and also (international a lot of criticism harvest? In Flanders, the . said Minister of Housing therefore recently put all confidence in Camelot Cam. The Municipality of Rotterdam and the Urban Development Department must protect all Rotterdammers! Immediately stop hiding behind and outsource to dubious management companies such as Camelot, which make people disenfranchised by means of strangulation contracts so that they can evict them from their homes on request.
Show Solidarity: Together for housing security!
You can help the residents by sharing this message on social media and by writing to the landlords and the municipality of Rotterdam. It is high time to take action for each other, if we want to prevent even more people from ending up on the street during the corona and housing crisis. On Tuesday 17 November at 13:00 a first action is therefore planned.
We will pass on our demands to Alderman for Housing, Bas Curvers (VVD) to demand a social solution.
Corona measures at tenant action
Banners and protest signs are most welcome. Don't forget your mouth cap! In addition to the requirements presentation, there are short speeches. In accordance with the corona measures, we keep 1,5 meters away and there is disinfection gel. For those who do not have a mouth cap, BPW will provide it on site.
For more information, questions or contact with the residents, please contact us: email@example.com or call BPW spokesperson Abel Heijkamp on 06-47686543.
Update: Laanslootseweg barracks residents achieve first result!
As a direct result of campaigning, standing up for themselves and direct confrontation with Camelot and the Municipality of Rotterdam with demands for housing security, the barracks stopped the eviction on November 26th! Taking action pays off!
This blatant eviction attempt has attracted public pressure and attention from a broad coalition of organizations that came together to support the barracks. Thanks goes out to The Housing Association, SP Rotterdam, Open Rotterdam, newspaper010, European Action Coalition, House Ivicke Autonomous, Cultural Workers Unite, Tenants Charlois and of course the other local BPW groups.
This is how we win – working together to demand housing security.
We will continue to work with the barracks until they meet all their requirements.