Over a quarter of the students in Rotterdam are not satisfied with their landlord. Master student Pepijn pays 200 euros too much rent and called in the Rent Assessment Committee (Huurcommissie).
Pepijn (25), master student in Financial Economics, was initially delighted with his room in Rotterdam. “It’s in a lovely position, in the heart of Kralingen and the room is fairly big. I first studied in Amsterdam and it’s very hard to find a room there.” He felt that the rent of 595 euros – including gas, water and electricity – was ‘fair’ for his room rented from a private landlord, particularly considering the prices in Amsterdam.
This summer EM joined up with Yournalism, a platform for research journalism, and ten other higher education media to conduct a survey into the student lodging market. The whole dossier is available here.
It was only when he heard from a friend that many students pay a maximum of 400 euros to rent a room in Rotterdam that Pepijn began to wonder whether he was paying too much. So he decided to investigate his ‘excessive rent’ and check with the Rent Assessment Committee. After he had added up all the points, the conclusion was that he was paying far too much. “According to this point system, my landlord should only have been asking a maximum of 300 euros for my room. So that’s more than 200 euros too much.”
Give notice and leave
His landlord was less impressed with the result of the Rent Assessment Committee’s point system. “He accused me of not filling it in correctly and said that if I didn’t like the rent, I should give notice and leave.” He also appointed a lawyer. He would hold me liable for lost earnings if I paid a lower rent. A lot of threatening language was used, which made it quite intimidating.”
The Rent Assessment Committee drew up a report about Pepijn’s rent and invited the student and his landlord to a hearing to discuss the room price. “My landlord then asked for a deferment because he didn’t feel he’d had enough time to prepare for the hearing. It’s now four months later. But I’m expecting him to request another deferment in September, because he wants to delay the judgement for as long as possible.”
The student of Financial Economics is amazed that it’s taking so long. “But his tactics have paid off: I’ve nearly finished my degree and all that time I’ve been paying that high rent. Perhaps by the time I win my case I’m already living in another apartment.”
Pepijn didn’t want his photo taken because the case against his landlord is still pending.