Nieuws - 13 september 2012

'They were peeing drunkenly from the shed roof'

Noisy Introweek parties, echoing new buildings and neighbours with young children. A cocktail that guarantees a flood of complaints about Idealis's new student residences.

Two photos from the Ben van Londenstraat's Facebook page.  On the right you can see how close the student block (front right) is to a family home.
The row of student houses on the Ben van Londenstraat looks like an ordinary street: 19 neat terraced houses flanked by similar blocks of houses for families. And there lies the rub. Since the students moved into their new homes on 18 July, their neighbours have regularly come face to face with the irregular habits of the typical student. As a result the complaints have been flooding in - with noise as the number one grouse.
In the Jan Jordenstraat - directly behind the new student homes - the dissatisfaction is hard to miss. 'It sounded just like a House party yesterday afternoon and night', says resident Tanja Bitter. 'It is especially the young students who think, let the good times roll.' Her neighbour Sanne chips in: 'Not long ago on one occasion they were peeing drunkenly from the shed roof.' To make matters worse, the new building echoes so badly that the smallest sound is magnified. Sanna: 'If students are chatting in the evenings it feels as though they are sitting in your garden.' Sanna and Tanja do not want to tar all the students with the same brush though. Two or three houses are responsible for most of the nuisance. The other students respond with understanding when they are asked to turn the volume down a bit. 'The residents of one house even came round to say they were having a housewarming party', says Bitter. They feel the solution lies in clear rules of conduct laid down by Idealis. Sanne: 'And luckily it will soon be winter and then it is too cold to sit outside.'
Neighbourhood policing
Student Joeri Groot is one of the new residents. 'We got complaints straightaway in the first week', he says. 'We were sitting in the garden playing games and we just went inside.' After that, together with two other SSR-W houses, they did their best to create good relations with the neighbours. They invited them all over for drinks and gave one telephone number as a point of contact.' That helped.
But for other students the complaints led to intervention from Idealis. The student housing provider is on the case, says head of resident affairs Jan Harkema. 'We take this extremely seriously. We are in touch with tenants, and those about whom we receive complaints in particular. The caretaker and a neighbourhood police agent have been round too.' And the students received a letter outlining rules of conduct.
Student Marijn Albers is one of those who have received a warning. If he and his housemates do not smarten up their act they will be evicted from their rooms, Idealis informed them. Albers does not think this is entirely fair. The complaint was vague and was not specifically directed at them. But the letter from Idealis has made an impression on them. 'The warning has no consequences right now, but we will have to watch our step.'