News - February 14, 2013

'Ideal it is not'

Idealis wants to change the rental contract for the Dijkgraaf residence to make sure students start disposing of their own household garbage. This led to loud protest on the Resource website: 'Abuse of power', 'Ideal it is not', 'useless move'... and these were among the milder comments.
text: Rob Goossens and Gaby van Caulil

Are they justified or over the top? Is Idealis abusing its monopoly?  

Matthijs van der Houwen
resident of the Dijkgraaf
'Yes, Idealis is behaving like a monopolist by imposing its wishes on us all. They ran a survey themselves and it showed that 70 percent of the residents were against having to put out their garbage. Strikes me as a pretty convincing majority. If you then just proceed to get your plans in through the back door, you give the impression that you don't take the residents very seriously - to say the least. Pity. I see a pattern here. A while back Idealis just suddenly scrapped the furnished rooms too.'
Jan Harkema
deputy director of Idealis
'Naturally, I don't like all the criticism. Of course not. But in the past we have had big fusses too, and people had all sorts of conspiracy theories about the renovation of the Bornsesteeg and the Dijkgraaf flats. In those days it was all banners and telephonic threats. Now you see the criticism on the internet, where people are very quick to chip in with their pennyworth. Monopolist is a cheap accusation, I'd say. The simple fact is that we have 4000 residential units here. We try not to behave like a monopolist, but in fact that is what we are. I didn't think it was a good idea to respond on the site, considering we had already informed the tenants very clearly. What is more, that would only fuel the discussion. I can't do much with all those opinions, either. I would prefer it if people came to talk to us. Everyone who approaches us gets an answer. Make an appointment and we can explain things.
Without trivializing it, I have learned by now that change arouses opposition. When we stopped renting furnished rooms, a small minority objected, whereas a majority of the residents preferred to buy their own furniture. You can never please everyone.'
Margo Baartmans
resident of the Binnenveld complex
'As a resident of the Binnenveld I don't have much cause for complaint. We get rid of our garbage ourselves and that is not a problem. I think Idealis is quite a good landlord, actually; we rarely have any ­issues with them. If something gets broken they come at ­once. You would hope so, at the price, mind you. When I see that you can rent a room of 20 square metres on the High Street for 250 euros, I can't help wondering why I am paying about 350 euros for a room of 18 square metres.
Max Jonkman
residents' representative for Dijkgraaf
'I don't recognize that picture of Idealis as a monopolist taking no notice of students' wishes. Not in relation to the garbage issue at Dijkgraaf, either. Things may have gone a bit wrong in the communication between us, but Idealis does have the right to add or withdraw particular services if their operations or principles require it. It is simply not true that they do not consider the students. Only yesterday I was talking to Idealis and it was agreed that the new garbage system for the Dijkgraaf will only be in force from 2016. You couldn't ask for a more reasonable transition period. I thought the students' reactions on the internet were over the top. The student housing provider is an easy target. If you ask me, there weren't many Dijkgraaf residents among them.
Joris Alkemade
resident of Hoevestein
'I can understand the negative reactions to Idealis. The maintenance of our building is deplorable. The lifts are bad, and so are the rest of the communal areas. There is hardly any maintenance. I realize it doesn't ­have to be a posh hotel, but surely it could be better than this. The worse thing, to me, is the housing for foreign ­students. When you see the containers they have to live in, you are ashamed of Wageningen's 'hospitality'. It would be good if there were at least two providers of student housing; I am sure the rent would be lower then, and the service better.'
Rosita van de Veer
resident of Dijkgraaf
'Of course it is ridiculous that Idealis didn't respect the results of the survey. All the more considering they didn't really have any good reason for changing the system for the garbage. We pay for garbage collection, don't we?  But to be honest, apart from that I don't have much problem with Idealis as a landlord.'