Private student houses in ordinary houses or flats will have to get their permits in order fast, or else the occupants risk being forced out of their home. This is clear from Wageningen’s new policy on student accommodation.
According to the new rules on room renting, only 5 per cent of the homes in a street (1 in 20) can be a student house (see inset). Student houses also need an environmental and planning permit. And it’s ‘first come, first served’ for those.
The idea is that the new accommodation policy will curb the unrestrained growth in possibly illegal lets and any resulting nuisance for neighbours. The policy was the subject of a debate on Monday 1 July during a municipal council political evening. In the debate, student party Connect Wageningen sounded a critical note. Connect is against the strict 5 per cent rule. Spokesperson Koen Jansen: ‘Students make up a quarter of Wageningen’s population. So 5 per cent per street is very meagre.’ But Connect is alone in this. All the other parties think 1 in 20 houses is a good balance.
It is not certain how the new rules will be enforced. The new policy means that all student houses in ordinary residential accommodation will have to reapply for a permit. The municipality will not check this on its own initiative, but only do so in response to requests from local residents. Students will not be forced to leave immediately either. If it turns out a house is not in order, the occupants will be given up to 12 months to find new accommodation.
The new policy
Student houses about a shop, cafe, restaurant, office or other business are allowed throughout the municipality except on industrial estates. No environmental and planning permit is needed then. Lodging with a landlady is also always allowed. Two rooms with one lodger each are permitted per house. Parents who buy a house or flat for their child at university are allowed to rent out the other rooms to two other people at most. The son or daughter must live in the house and a permit is required. Student houses in ordinary houses or flats must also have a permit. No more than 5 per cent of the houses in any given street can be student houses.