Science - May 27, 2004

Petition signed against rent rise

Stichting Flat Overleg presented student accommodation office SSHW this week with a petition of 1,832 signatures against the rent rises planned for nearly four thousand SSHW rooms. The SSHW wants to use the extra income to build new accommodation.

SSHW director Pierre Duyx understands that the tenants are not happy about the rent rise. According to SSHW, however, the move has been well thought out and is absolutely necessary. The rent rise is one of a number of measures to improve the price-quality relationship for the rooms provided by SSHW. Seven hundred rooms that are currently too expensive will become cheaper, and according to Duyx, that is unique in the Netherlands.

University rector Professor Bert Speelman was also presented with the petition, and said it was ‘totally crazy’ that current tenants should be financing SSHW’s construction plans. “I find it very weak that SSHW intends to make its investments through the current student tenants.” According to Speelman, SSHW should have made better depreciation calculations. When asked whether the university was prepared to give SSHW money to reduce the rent rise, Speelman kept it short: “No way.” According to the rector, the university was not informed about the rent rise. “The SSHW has been very lax in its communication.”

According to Duyx, however, SSHW did inform the university of its plans. SSHW has no alternative but to raise rents, because there are no government subsidies for new construction. SSHW already invests more of its own money than is allowed by the central fund, the national financial supervisory body for housing corporations.

Guido van Hofwegen

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