Concerns about student housing on sale
Vestia Rotterdam Stadswonen sells 1400 housing units meant for youth to Stichting Studenten Huisvesting (SSH) from Utrecht, primarily for short stay purposes. Huurdersbelang Stadswonen – representing the interests of all students, together with political party PVDA Rotterdam express concerns about a possible shortage of housing for regular students.
Complexes D’Blaauwe Molen, Caland II, and ‘t Leidsche Veem are involved in the agreement that both renters arranged. Half of the housing units in these complexes are already prepared for short stay and the SSH likes to expand these. Also included in the deal is the U-building at Woudestein campus – which is currently still being constructed. From these housing units about 70 percent will be short stay. Yet, the SSH wishes to discuss with the university about possibilities for expanding short stay in U-building even more. “250 euros of basic rent will be charged for these rooms. Usually, an additional 80 to 100 percent can be expected on top of that amount”, says SSH-director Ton Jochems.
Short stay houses consist of furnished units for which a relative high amount of rent is charged, because they are primarily assigned for renting by foreign students who will reside for a relative short amount of time. “Therefore, these units are not suited for regular students”, according to a Huurdersbelangen spokesperson. PvdA Rotterdam fears that students trying to find a room to occupy for a longer period of time will face serious problem in finding one. Even more so because the number of Rotterdam students is expected to grow the coming years, and the Landelijke Monitor Studentenhuisvesting predicts a shortage of available rooms in Rotterdam by 2020.
‘No difference in the end’
Vestia and SSH predict it won’t be this bad. Vestia intends to convert the remaining short stay units into units for regular students. SSH-director Jochems doesn’t think that the available housing for regular students will be much lower in the end. “It’s a fact that we want more short stay, but if cheap housing arises at another place, in the end it will make no difference.”
Still, Huurdersbelangen Stadswonen is not at ease yet. “Even though some houses are transformed into complexes with ‘normal’ student rooms, these are usually located in less attractive areas such as in the far West of Rotterdam, or in Alexander.” TF
20 February 2013