Resident actions in Groningen, Leiden, Den Bosch and Steenwijk. The BPW has not been idle in recent months. We have campaigned all over the Netherlands and supported tenants in claiming their right of residence. Here we provide an update of current residents' cases that the BPW actively supports.
BPW Groningen - Action against Groningen Buildings
feed in Groningen the residents of the Sugar Homes for weeks now action against the abuses of their property manager Groningse Panden. The container houses where the mostly international students stay are plagued by mold and vermin. In addition, Groningen Panden illegally withholds the 750 euro deposit from the residents. Groningse Panden claims to do this to prevent students from not paying the increased energy bills after leaving the Netherlands, but ignores that withholding the deposit on this condition is not permitted by law. Residents of the Sugar homes do not accept this. They demand their deposit back and are prepared to go to court if Groningen Panden does not comply. The BPW has coordinated the action of the residents and has already put them in touch with a lawyer, which has made the whole process a lot more transparent for them. Residents are currently preparing to reclaim their deposit by means of extrajudicial collection letters.
BPW Leiden - Action against Urban Interest
You will have noticed that the BPW in Leiden has been campaigning for some time against the scandalous practices of real estate company Urban Interest, owner of the Stationsflat opposite the central station. The company plays a well-known trick: by replacing residents with temporary contracts every two years, Urban Interest deprives tenants of their tenancy rights and retains maximum control over the property. At the end of November, BPW Leiden action against threatened evictions of residents of the Stationsflat. And earlier in the month, BPW'ers, Doorbraak and the Hague City Party brought a visit to the Urban Interest headquarters in The Hague to claim permanent contracts for all Stationsflat residents. Bo Salomons, one of the residents and an active BPW member who was in danger of being evicted from his home, has now been offered a permanent contract and alternative accommodation. But the fight for housing security in the Stationsflat continues, because for many other residents there is still a threat of eviction.
BPW Den Bosch - Action against Saint Mary Parish
Also in Den Bosch are the residents of the Pastorie on the Kruisbroedershof stood up against their impending evictions by the Parish of Saint Mary and property manager Monoma. In recent years, the residents have made the dilapidated building habitable themselves, but are now unceremoniously forced to leave their home. Together with the BPW Den Bosch, the residents have transferred their demand for housing security to the Parish of Saint Mary and organized a camp-out protest in front of the Bossche town hall. They also spoke to the city council. Not only to raise their own housing situation, but also to make the housing crisis in Den Bosch visible and to demand a fairer housing policy. Unfortunately, residents have recently lost their lawsuit, leaving many homeless, further proceedings on the merits will follow. The struggle for housing security continues.
Steenwijk - Action against Attention Real Estate
In Steenwijk, the residents of the former Vijverhof elderly complex continue to resist their aggressive and intimidating manager Aandacht Vastgoed BV The property manager regularly intimidates tenants and has committed domestic violence several times. The company tries at all costs to drive the current residents out of the complex, among other things to be able to replace them with migrant workers. Despite a court ruling that their contract was not a loan but rent, that the manager forbids the evacuation of residents, the intimidation and threats continue. There is a permanent culture of fear in the building. The BPW will remain involved with the residents of the Vijverhof as long as this continues.
Introductory meeting for (new) members in East Netherlands
The number of members of the BPW is growing steadily and not only in the larger cities. We also see a sharp increase in the eastern Netherlands (Overijssel and Gelderland). Reason for a number of BPW members to invite the new members from Overijssel and Gelderland to meet each other and to get to know the BPW better. There is plenty to discuss after a number of recent BPW activities in Ewijk, Arnhem and Steenwijk. A resident of a former service flat in Steenwijk comes to tell how the residents won summary proceedings against eviction. There are also plans to start a housing consultation hour in Apeldoorn in the spring for people who live anti-squat or otherwise precarious. Also tenants who participate in the rental campaign set up by the BPW We Refuse The Rent Increase can go there for questions and advice. If you are interested but unable to attend and if you have problems with transport, please send us an e-mail.
When: Thursday, January 12, 2023
True: Café Nova, Marktstraat 20, Apeldoorn
Time of day: 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Sign Up: by email via email@example.com
Multi-year rent freeze
Rents have risen explosively in recent years and the number of tenants with payment arrears is increasing sharply. The action means that tenants do not pay their rent increase as of July 1 in protest. The first successes are also reported. Reports are coming in from all over the country from tenants who have successfully refused the rent increase.
In 2020, the BPW decided to set up this action group and will provide all the necessary services. BPW members are invited to join as well to register with the action group WWDH to provide mutual assistance in this rental where possible.
Read more information here the recent newsletter of We Refuse the Rent Increase.
BPW writes an article about container homes - share your experiences!
With the tragic fire on the Riekerhaven complex still fresh in Amsterdam, and many other abuses in mind, the BPW is working on an article about container homes. Following national policy to give flexible homes a permanent place in the Dutch housing system, the construction of container homes is being encouraged and subsidized in many municipalities. However, these homes are always of a temporary nature, with flexible contracts, do not offer housing security, and – as it now appears – are not always safe or of poor quality. The fire safety of container homes was also a point of discussion before the fire in Amsterdam. For our article, we prefer to collect as many stories as possible from residents of container homes who are confronted with these problems on a daily basis. Do you want to share your story with us? Then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
New Year's drink
It is easy to become gloomy and pessimistic about the many abuses in the housing market. But in more and more cities in the Netherlands we see enormous militancy and solidarity among residents. People no longer accept that their right to a decent home is being systematically taken away. And that can also be celebrated!
On Saturday 14 January there will be a BPW working group meeting from 13:00 to 15:00 in Den Bosch at Ridderspoorstraat 2 (invitation will follow). Subsequently, a BPW New Year's drink will take place at this location from 3:15 PM, with food (soup, bread, snacks, etc.) at 5:00 PM Everyone is welcome to enter the new year in a festive way!