Shortage of social housing in the Netherlands

When you leave your parent’s house, you will probably spend a lot of time to find a place to live, such as a house or an apartment. You may either rent or buy it, depending on your personal situation, preferences and income. It might sound not that difficult to find a place that meets all your criteria. For instance, the amount of rooms you would like to have or if you want a backyard or not. Yet, in reality it is harder than you think.housing-market

In the Netherlands there are long waiting lists for cheap apartments and social housing for new starting families and people with a low income. This means that they cannot find affordable houses.

This article is about scheefwonen. This Dutch term means that people with increased incomes are still renting social housing. They still pay the same amount of rent as people with a low income. This might not sound as a big problem, but actually it is. It causes long waiting lists as I stated before.

In theory it seems a problem that can be solved easily, unfortunately this is not the case.

An example of an idea is the idea of VVD-minister Blok of Housing. This idea seemed to be a good solution, but it proved otherwise in practice.

The solution he thought of was, to charge a higher rent for the people with an increased income, although they lived in the same type of house as their neighbours. The purpose of this idea was, to try to stimulate them to search for a bigger and more expensive home. This will cause a circulation in the social housing market.

A new problem arises, because if these people  want to move to another house, they also cannot find a home they can afford. For instance, a family pays rent, let’s say 400 euros in the beginning. After their income increases, minister Blok wants to charge them with a higher rent, like 600 euros. The family tries to find a new home with the maximum rent of 600 euros per month, but there are only houses available with a rent of 1000 euros or more. As you can see this is quite a big problem in the Dutch housing market.

A solution could be, to build more houses. Not only social housing, but also for people with an increased income. This solution will take time and large investments. Time is the biggest problem, because the waiting lists will decrease very slowly.

All in all, the conclusion is that the idea of minister Blok doesn’t seem to work.

The other idea, building new homes, is in my opinion a better solution, yet it will take a lot of time to decrease the waiting lists. It could be a good idea, if the housing associations build houses for the different income classes. Even though it will consume a lot of time and effort, in the long run it will be worth it.

Sources:

http://nos.nl/artikel/2068145-wethouders-geloven-niet-in-scheefwoon-beleid-blok.html

Author: Daphne Mathijsen – Freaders

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