Student - 7 november 2012

Big rent reductions in student housing?

The cabinet's plans may result in big rent reductions for student housing. Good news? We can't tell yet.

The coalition agreement does at times bring good news for students. To revamp the rental market, the cabinet wants to get rid of the point system. Instead, the maximum rent for a house or a room should be tied to the value of the property tax. Bad news for greedy landlords in the centre of Amsterdam, but good news for students. The property tax of an average room in a student complex is so low that rents may have to be reduced substantially. In certain cases, the rent may even have to be halved, say the initiators.
You might view this as good news, but don't go opening that bottle of champagne just yet. The plan has in fact caused Kences, the central body for student housing agencies, to sound its alarm bells. Idealis is also a member of Kences. If rents have to be lowered compulsorily, student housing providers would suffer a big setback financially. They would not be able to invest in new housing anymore, says Kences director Buitenhuis in an interview with the Higher Education Press Agency. What's more, this would drive many housing providers to the brink of bankruptcy.
Students would then have to turn to the private sector and might even end up having to pay more, argues Buitenhuis. This situation can only be averted if an exception is made for student housing in the implementation of this ruling. Otherwise, there will be no future for student housing, the Kences director reckons. He does expect that a solution will be found, though.

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