Student - October 18, 2019

Duivendaal residents still waiting for cash

Luuk Zegers

Almost 100 current and former residents of student complex Duivendaal have been waiting nearly a year for a refund of their deposit and service charges and their rent discount from the former landlord, Duivendael Beheer BV. The amounts range from 500 to 1200 euros — about 50,000 euros in total.

© Luuk Zegers

Duivendaal, which used to be WUR’s headquarters, was bought by student accommodation provider Xior last year. Before that, WUR rented the premises for a number of years to Duivendael Beheer BV, a collaborative venture between Socius Wonen, which provides housing for young people, and Van der Leij real estate. A dispute about the division of responsibilities between the two parties is behind the delay to the refunds for current and former residents.

The residents have complained and a start was made on 8 October with repaying the deposits. But resident Max Achterweust says the battle is far from won. ‘They haven’t paid everything. Each party is pointing to the other, and we lose out as a result.’

Socius’s lawyer Jan Cees Noordijk says that a list of names, deposit sums and account numbers was sent to Van der Leij’s lawyer in mid-July and that means Socius has fulfilled its obligations. Van der Leij, however, says the list was incomplete. Noordijk: ‘That would be a pity. But so far we have heard nothing from them saying this.’

There is also disagreement about the size of the refunds. Most of the students affected just want their deposit and excess service charges refunded but some people qualify for a rent discount too. Because of exceptional circumstances, they were given a ‘temporary loan’ contract that stated they only had to pay service charges. Despite this, the full rent was deducted from their account. Van der Leij says there is a difference of opinion between the real estate company and Socius about who is responsible for repaying the promised rent discount. ‘We need to settle this matter. Those people are indeed entitled to that money.’

Duivendaal’s indoor courtyard. Photo Sven Menschel