According to SP youth organisation ROOD, the shortage of student accommodation and private landlords’ dominant positions mean that tenants can easily be exploited. ROOD President Lisa de Leeuw says: “If there’s one person who really symbolises rack-renting, it’s Bernhard, Prince of Private Property.”
Dutch daily Het Parool revealed this month that Prince Bernhard owns a lot of property. The paper added that tenants have to pay a deposit for the key as well, although this is against the law. And the estate agent apparently forbids some tenants to register at that address so that the municipality can’t trace them.
In response to the article in Het Parool, His Highness Prince Bernhard of Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven said that he has outsourced management of his property and promised to check whether the regulations are actually being breached.
But the Young Socialists don’t want to wait that long and have now nominated him for their annual prize. The winner will be announced in February.
ROOD is campaigning for affordable housing, tougher sanctions for rack-renters, a bigger say for tenants, and an option for banishing landlords from the city if they continually exploit their tenants. They also want speculation on the property market to be kept under control.
The Young Socialists aren’t the only ones who are angry with crooked landlords. Aldermen from 12 university towns sent a letter to the new Minister of the Interior, Kasja Ollongren, earlier this month, urging her to take a tougher line with rack-renters.
There have been some nice bloopers in the history of ROOD’s prize. One landlord was accused of all kinds of terrible things, such as making students do a striptease before renting rooms to them. But the Young Socialists couldn’t prove these allegations, and they actually awarded him a Golden Feather two years later.
Last year’s winner was furious with the Young Socialists and threatened to take them to court, so they then awarded him a second prize: the Golden Cry-Baby.