Twenty-two-year-old Lars Morsink is relieved that the judge found in his favour. “Those additional costs they told me to pay simply weren’t right.” The judge found that only €7.72 of the €200 Morsink was charged when he moved into the complex was a justifiable and legally acceptable fee for services rendered.

Morsink had to wait several years due to the pandemic, but hung in there and was ultimately rewarded for his patience. Now that the judge has ruled on the case, the housing association will be required to refund the sum paid in excess of €7.72. After adjustment for inflation, that sum will amount to €232.28.

‘Vague’ costs

The owner of the housing complex, Austrian bank Raiffeisen, brought up several types of expenses that it felt justified the ‘booking fee’. These expenses included a fee for help applying for housing benefit and the provision of a ‘key buddy’, a digital key that was easy to share with others. It also included the costs of an introduction to the building and to the city. These were just some of the costs which according to the judge should not have been passed on to the building’s tenants.

Basically, Morsink’s case is identical to that of his fellow student Joris Pijpers, who was told by the court in March that he would have the lion’s share of the ‘booking fee’ refunded.


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More interest

The Squarerent legal consultancy firm, which assisted the students, has found that more EUC students are now seeking a refund. The founder of the firm, Floris Vaneveld, says he is in talks with dozens of students. He is preparing a lawsuit in which he will defend several students at once.

Until now, Vaneveld says, it has been fairly easy to win the lawsuits, but he believes that the housing association will put up a better defence in the future. “The housing association will do a better job of presenting receipts for things such as name plates and key rings. Because at some point it will be more expensive for them to give all students of the past five years a refund than to leave things the way they are.”

The firm charges half the amount of the refund for each victory in court. In other words, in successful cases, says Vaneveld, the firm receives about €90, as does the student.

The Lucia complex houses 218 EUC students every year. Students are required by the university to live there during their first year. The ‘booking fee’ is a one-off fee paid in addition to a monthly rent of €718 for an 18m2 bedsit.

Studentencomplex LUCIA op het Stadhuisplein.

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