An affordable home for everyone, whether you buy or rent. That promise in the coalition agreement is substantial, Minister De Jonge acknowledges during his first residential debate in the House on Thursday. The ambition to accelerate housing construction to 100 thousand homes per year feels like ‘a major assignment’.
‘There is no quick fix’, warns De Jonge. He can’t do magic, he says, but will do everything in his power to make sure more will be built. ‘In times of scarcity, the law of the strongest applies and we must not let that happen.’
The key question is: how will he solve the housing shortage? It may be a ‘priority’ for the Rutte IV cabinet to ensure that the Dutch no longer ‘wake up’ from the stalled housing market, but that does not mean that De Jonge has many options to solve the problem.
‘That’s right,’ admits De Jonge after the debate. Of course, the landlord levy will be abolished, leaving housing associations more money for social housing. And he can make agreements with municipalities and provinces about the numbers that will be built.
But what if they don’t keep to those agreements? Does he have a stick to hit with? ‘At the moment there are not enough tools in my toolbox for this,’ admits De Jonge. ‘But if we are convinced that the government must take more control, we must equip ourselves with the instruments to enable additional housing construction.’ He wants to create ‘more perseverance’.
Speed up construction
At the beginning of March, the minister will present a ‘construction and housing agenda’ containing the concrete measures to pull the housing market out of the doldrums. He already lifts a corner of the veil.
Making it easier to build a house is the first measure. Building a house now takes an average of seven years. Two years of this is real construction time, the other five years are spent on procedures. ‘We will have to do something to speed up those procedures,’ says De Jonge. And yes, that can be at the expense of, for example, participation.
The minister also sees great benefit in accelerating the construction time by encouraging the standardization of homes and factory construction. ‘That sounds boring, all the same type of housing’, says the minister, ‘but that has long since ceased to be the case.’ The innovations are moving fast; some houses are already built almost entirely in factories. The minister is looking at this with great interest, if only because of the large shortage of construction workers.
To freeze rent or not?
The SP and the PvdA, among others, strongly fear that rents will explode with the annual increase on 1 July, because they grow in line with inflation. A rent increase of 5 percent can mean an extra 40 to 70 euros per month, PvdA MP Henk Nijboer calculates. ‘If that happens twice in a row, you’ll end up with more than 100 euros extra per month. That’s too much for a cop or a nurse.’
For the time being, Minister de Jonge has made no commitment to freeze rents due to high inflation. He does promise to give a definitive answer before mid-February.
In any case, the cabinet wants to ‘provide more protection’ to tenants with middle incomes. He wants to ‘look really seriously’ at the possibility of introducing a kind of points system whereby a maximum rent may be charged if a private rental home becomes available. ‘So that you cannot be taken advantage of in these times of scarcity.’
HOME PLANS RUTTE IV CABINET AT A GLANCE:
1. The government’s priority is a affordable housing for everyonewhether you rent or buy. Important: the government is not going to build anything itself, but wants the reduce regulatory and tax burden so that construction can be completed more quickly, and rents and purchase prices remain affordable.
2. Goal is to accelerate housing construction to 100 thousand homes per year. By 2030, approximately 900,000 homes must be built.
3. Housing associations are abolish the landlord levy urged more social housing to build and rebuild.
4.More homes for starters, seniors and middle incomes should be achieved, among other things, by the construction of 15 thousand temporary homes and the more frequent conversion of offices into homes.
5.The construction sites will be not limited to the 14 previously designated residential areas. Construction is allowed throughout the Netherlands. In doing so, nature is taken into account.
6.Making a home for sale accessible: : existing tenants with a land-bound home may, under certain conditions, buy their rental home from a housing corporation.
7.Mortgage more accessible: For starters, the current student debt is decisive when applying for a mortgage. It becomes easier for seniors part of the value of the house (and thus help their children with the purchase of a house, for example).
8. Mid-rental housing takes the form of rent protection. In addition, counteracted rogue rental by a notification obligation, registration obligation and rental permit.