News - June 15, 2017

Curb on number of student houses

Text:
Roelof Kleis

Wageningen municipal council wants to set limits to the number of student houses in ‘ordinary’ streets. To avoid an overload, the new rule is that only one in 20 houses per street can be a student house.

©Kamernet

This is the nub of the new rules for room rental, now available for perusal and comment by the public. The current rules are only two years old but are already inadequate. According to the mayor and councillors, there are some streets where the presence of students threatens to spoil residents’ enjoyment of the neighbourhood.

According to the municipality, it is the difference in hours kept by students and their neighbours which causes problems. The issues are parties and late-night visitors, says a spokesperson. Other things that bother residents is litter, bicycles parked in the wrong place, poor maintenance of houses and antisocial behaviour such as cycling on pavements.

Complaints
The municipality cannot give precise figures on the number of complaints received. ‘But we have received strong signals that the current policy does not sufficiently protect the interests of sitting residents, from discussions with neighbourhood associations, individual residents and with the councillor responsible for this issue, Han ter Maat,’ says the spokesperson. So the rules are being sharpened up to keep the nuisance factor down. The municipality also wants to take the wind out of the sails of profiteering landlords.

The back garden of De Kogel, a student house on the Niemeijerstraat in Wageningen.
The back garden of De Kogel, a student house on the Niemeijerstraat in Wageningen.

The new rule is that a maximum of five percent of residences per street may be student houses. Concentrations of student houses in one street are taboo. The current rule is a maximum of 15 percent student houses within a radius of 50 metres around any other house. Student residences run by housing corporations such as Idealis are covered by this rule too. A licence is only required for renting out rooms in houses in which owners themselves do not live. The ruling still holds that no license is needed for rental by a resident landlady or above a shop or restaurant.

Licenses
The introduction of new rules means there are already a number of streets on which no more student houses would be allowed. The municipality is drawing up a list of these streets. Since 2015, when current regulations came into force, 120 licenses have been issued for student houses, room rental to refugees with a residence permit, and sheltered housing projects. A rough estimate suggests that Wageningen has about 200 premises housing students. The public has until 20 July to lodge objections to the new rules.