Eight percent of Dutch householders would be willing to rent a room to a student, according to a survey completed by residents of university cities and other communities. Reviving the ‘good old landlady’ will certainly not solve the accommodation shortage entirely, but De Jonge does see potential in the idea, according to a memorandum he submitted to the House of Representatives last Friday.

Exemption

De Jonge wants to make taking in student lodgers more attractive by allowing temporary tenancies, a possibility that Parliament has drastically curtailed under the Fixed Rental Contracts Act. De Jonge had already included an exemption for students in that law, but now he also wants to ease the situation for private landlords and landladies.

Under his proposals, for example, a lodger’s tenancy would end automatically as soon as their host sold their home. At present, mortgage providers are often reluctant to allow student lodgers because their permanent rental contract continues even if the property is sold. This lowers its value.

Normal

De Jonge also wants to restore ‘normal’ temporary tenancies for lodgers. He believes that homeowners will be more likely to rent out a spare room to a student, an expat or a recent divorcee if they can be offered a fixed-term contract for two or five years.

The minister has long argued for a revival of private student lodgings. As minister of housing, he faces a shortage of several tens of thousands of rooms for students. At the same time, research by his ministry shows that a third of the residents of university cities have an available spare room measuring 12 square metres or more.

Groningen

Only a small proportion of these householders, however, are willing to rent out that space. They appear to be concentrated mainly in Groningen and Utrecht. Respectively, 14 and 11 percent of residents in those cities could see themselves taking in a student. Their counterparts in Rotterdam and The Hague are far less enthusiastic, with just 1 and 2 percent respectively willing to entertain the idea.

De Jonge also wants to launch an information campaign for prospective landlords and landladies. For instance, they need to be made aware that rental income can affect their benefits or allowances. Those in social housing also have to watch out for income-dependent rent increases. Having a student with his or her own income staying in their home could add substantially to their annual rent rise. De Jonge is investigating whether he can also tackle this specific problem through new legislation.

If the new government decides to continue down the same path, the ministry could complete a first draft of the necessary legislation by the end of this year.

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