Last year, the Indefinite Rental Contracts Act (Wet vaste huurcontracten) was passed in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Under the Act, tenants will be entitled to an indefinite rental contract from 1 July this year. D66 and SP put forward an amendment aimed at ensuring the Act would also apply to student rooms.

However, Housing Minister Hugo de Jonge has now moved to prevent this expansion of the Act’s application. A month ago, he informed parliament that all students would be covered by the exemption.

EU rules

Initially, only international students were to be exempted. Upon reflection, however, the minister believes this distinction cannot be maintained, since it would violate EU rules.

MPs were late in noticing De Jonge’s change in policy. The ‘general administrative order’ takes effect after thirty days, and SP, D66 and SGP did not try to block it through an urgency procedure until last Wednesday, right on the deadline. They also failed to secure the necessary thirty votes in the House of Representatives.

Losers

Students are the losers here, says D66 MP Jan Paternotte. “This measure will trap them in a repeating cycle of fixed-term rental contracts, causing considerable stress, when all they want to do is focus on their studies. How meaningful now are all the fine words to students from the parties trying to form a new coalition government?”

PVV, NSC, VVD and BBB explicitly opposed an urgency procedure, while other parties failed to respond.

SP MP Sandra Beckerman called the situation frustrating and was annoyed that she had seen De Jonge’s new measure so late. “I didn’t think the minister would do this.”

Rigorous

The Union of Tenants is also surprised. “We knew the minister wanted to exempt international students, but we didn’t expect him to implement such a rigorous measure”, said a spokesperson.

It will have far-reaching consequences, the union fears. Landlords will seize the opportunity offered by the exemption for students with both hands: “They can now offer a two-year lease to anyone enrolled at an educational institution. Of course, landlords can also offer an indefinite rental contract, but unfortunately the evidence suggests they are disinclined to do that.”

The Union of Tenants still has plenty of questions. Will the exemption also apply to part-time students who combine work and study? And how will landlords check whether someone is enrolled as a student? Will the government provide this information? “We can see major implementation problems which the ministry has yet to address.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing was indeed unable to answer these questions from the Union of Tenants at this time.

Lees meer

Waiting times for student housing often longer than study duration

The waiting lists at social student housing are still long. Sometimes students have…