There are no plans to demolish the well-known red and white flat on Stationsplein in Leiden yet. Despite wanting pawnbroker Urban Interest and manager Van 't Hof Rijnland put the tenants out on the street. To renovate and refurbish the property? Or to demolish the building? No, because immediately after the evictions, temporary tenants move in again. What is going on here?
Temporary rental contracts
Under the instruction of Urban Interest, Van 't Hof Rijnland only concludes temporary leases for two years. These contracts of Urban Interest may not be extended. People with this type of temporary contract can be evicted from their home through unilateral termination without reason (art. 7:271 paragraph 1 under b second sentence of the Dutch Civil Code in conjunction with art. 7:228 paragraph 1 of the Dutch Civil Code). If tenants get a permanent contract, it is more difficult to get rid of them, for example if they want to sell or demolish the property. Permanent tenants can only be evicted under certain conditions and by a judge, and are then entitled to replacement accommodation and reimbursement of moving and furnishing costs. To circumvent these social rights, Urban Interest only concludes contracts that can be terminated at short notice and without reason, so that they are not tied to tenants with tenancy rights.
Three months to leave
The residents are meanwhile evicted without mercy. Some tenants, such as Bond Precaire Woonvorm member Bo Salomons, have to leave the building in December. In September, he was told that his contract would not be renewed.
Van 't Hof Rijnland has offered residents that they may exchange apartments with neighbors, but that they may not continue to live in their own apartment in order to build up tenancy rights. This mainly shows that Van 't Hof Rijnland and Urban Interest is only concerned with breaking down tenancy rights by making tenants mobile through a possibility created by the Act on the Transition of the Rental Market. They then have all the advantages of permanent tenants (they receive 1000 or 1250 euros per month), and all the advantages of temporary tenants because the residents can beg every year for a new contract and hardly dare to complain, says Bo.
Meanwhile, Van 't Hof Rijnland is letting the flat deteriorate by not carrying out maintenance. The Leidsch Dagblad has already published twice written about the conditions in the flat, which alarmed the rental inspectorate and the fire service during a recent inspection.
Multiple attempts to talk to the manager and owner have had no effect. Urban Interest says it will stick to their 'real estate strategy' and will not renew contracts. That strategy means continuing to evict people so that if they want to sell the property or demolish it in 10 years or so, they don't have to take rent protection into account, says Bo.
Living is not musical chairs
Rent protection exists for a reason. It protects the right to have a home without suddenly having to pack your bags. With the current house prices, the enormous waiting lists and a shortage of affordable housing, this protection is all the more important. Urban Interest cannot just evict its tenants from their homes. The fact that permanent tenants already live in the building shows that it is possible. The tenants of the Stationsflat, with permanent and temporary contracts, stand in solidarity and refuse to accept the undermining of the right of residence by Urban Interest. Homes for people, not for profit!
The Bond Precaire Woonvorm Leiden demands from Urban Interest:
Let the residents of the Stationsflat in their own home
and offers residents a permanent rental contract!
and from politics:
Abolish the rental market flow law, offer housing security for everyone and prevent homelessness.
If Urban Interest and Van 't Hof Rijnland do not agree to this requirement as soon as possible, actions by tenants will follow. Tenants are not exchangeable!
For more information, please contact resident Bo by phone (06-48203862) or BPW Leiden by mail.
Would you like to support our campaign with your organization? Please contact us using the above information.
Do you also want to defend the right of residence in Leiden?
I kept it a secret for a while, because I hoped to be able to solve it myself with my landlord. But to no avail:— mr. Bo Syndicalists (@bo_salomons) October 14, 2022
I will be evicted soon.
Rode? "Our strategy is that tenants do not build up rental rights"
A thread (and action call!) pic.twitter.com/W9jDZSOJRj