Science - May 12, 2005

Fewer new rooms, higher rent

Last year’s rent rise will remain unchanged despite the fact that SSHW accommodation office will build far fewer new rooms than planned. SSHW now says that the rise was necessary anyway.

When SSHW presented the plans for new construction work last year it assumed that there would be a considerable rise in student numbers at Wageningen University. The plans involved large financial investments, and therefore SSHW said it was necessary to raise rents by an average of almost ten percent.

The tenants protested strongly at the time against the rises. According to the chair of the tenants’ association SFO, Linda Heilmann, there was then talk of reducing rents if the investments turned out to be lower than planned. ‘At that time we agreed that we would assess the construction plans each year and what the consequences would be for rents.’

The new director of SSHW, Hans van Medenbach, who started in December, is not interested in rent reductions, saying that the rent rise was necessary anyway. ‘The rents should have been adjusted a long time ago.’ The changes in construction plans are therefore no reason to lower rents now as far as he is concerned.

Last year SSHW introduced the ‘eighty percent norm’, that rents would not be higher than eighty percent of the ‘maximum reasonable rent level’, but has now decided that this will not apply to the new accommodation being built. The basic rent for the new apartments will be about 450 euros, which is about ninety percent of the maximum possible rent according to the points system. The SSHW says it needs money to safeguard its own operational costs, but rents will remain within the rent subsidy limits.
/ JH