Organisation - October 22, 2009

Anti-squatting to prevent buildings from getting run-down

Unoccupied properties will continue to be lived in, despite a squatting ban. Sales meetings are ongoing concerning Lawet and the Botanical Centre.

Squatting illegal. So much that is still... vacant.
Wageningen UR will not be influenced by the squatting ban, as far as its unoccupancy practice is concerned. Not only are its empty properties let out to ward off squatters, it also has a caretaker firm to keep them in better condition.
Three buildings and fourteen former staff residences, five of which are located outside Wageningen, are in the temporary care of the building management firm Interim. A total of forty occupants are staying there for the time being. No building is really empty. 'We make sure that our empty buildings are always occupied and used', says Eise Ebbelink, unit chief of Property Policy. This is not done to earn income or just for fear of squatters. 'Buildings need to be kept in shape', says Ebbelink. 'The heating and fire alarm systems are kept going, in any case. But damages, for example due to leakages or vandalism, are now quickly reported at least.' The proposed anti-squatting bill which the Second Chamber passed last week -with prison terms for offenders and obligations for owners to do something about unoccupancy - will therefore have little impact on the current practice concerning Wageningen UR's unoccupied properties.
The number of buildings which need temporary management are getting fewer. Ebbelink estimates that the decline will continue into next year. 'There are ongoing sales discussions regarding the Lawet, next to LA13 in Duivendaal, and the Botanical Centre. We are still on the lookout for a user for Meteo, also located in Duivendaal.'  Most of the buildings are located in areas under redevelopment. It wouldn't be too long before they get a new owner, adds Ebbelink. /Yvonne de Hilster

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