Currently, landlords in Kralingen need a licence to let student houses to three or more students. Councillor Chantal Zeegers (D66) wants to increase that number to four and more. This will eliminate the need for 3,500 permits, representing 70 per cent of the total number of student houses in the city, with the corresponding strict rules, such as the traffic light system, therefore no longer applying to those houses.

A significant impact

“It seems like a small change, but the impact is significant”, Ten Have warned councillors on Tuesday night during an input session at the Committee on Building, Housing and Outdoor Space.

Currently, the ‘zero quota’ applies in Kralingen, according to which rule, the municipality no longer issues room permits. Since January 2022, the municipality has also relied on the ‘traffic light model’, under which licensed student houses are divided into categories – ranging from green to red – based on the nuisance they cause. Students face sanctions if they cause a serious disturbance.

Ten Have expects the relaxation of licensing rules, which has yet to be adopted by the municipal council, will ensure further division of city housing stock into student housing. “Investors will no longer need a licence if they let their properties to three students”, he explained. “Three students generate more income for the landlord than two. As a result, lettings to students will continue to increase – even in streets and flats where more than half of the available housing already consists of student rooms.”

Ten Have also claims that there will be a loss of oversight. Unlicensed student houses are not covered by the traffic light system, meaning that the municipality has no insight into the level of nuisance these houses cause.

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University takes passive stance

Ten Have is disappointed by what he regards as a passive attitude on the part of the university. “Kralingen has been struggling with nuisance caused by students for years, but the university has failed to respond”, he says. “The university’s business model runs quite well on the additional income from international students, but they are happy to leave housing to the municipality.” In September 2022, a representative of the university attended a residents’ consultation meeting in Kralingen. “He said, ‘Let us know if we can help with anything, we’ll look into it’. It’s certainly a far cry from actually taking responsibility.”


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Collaboration with the municipality and students

Since February 2022, STOK has been working with the municipality, the district council and student associations to reduce student nuisance in Kralingen. The joint approach has slightly improved the quality of life in the neighbourhood, says Ten Have. “The policy has only recently been introduced, but we seem to be getting the situation somewhat under control. This is precisely why I don’t understand why the municipality would want such a drastic change. Pretty soon we will be back to square one.”