Dutch politicians may soon ban most short-term rental contracts for student rooms

Private landlords will no longer be allowed to offer student rooms for rent with a short lease of one or two years. Members of Parliament sitting in the Tweede Kamer are expected to adopt an amendment proposed by coalition party D66 and opposition party SP that would push the restriction forward.

Exemptions will include the possibility of offering temporary leases to exchange students who will only stay in the Netherlands for a year, for example. Campus contracts will also remain intact, where rental contracts cover the duration of the study, usually five years, at which point former students make way for new ones.

The amendment is an addition to the bill initiated by coalition partner ChristenUnie and opposition party PvdA to prohibit temporary leases for independent living spaces. A fixed rental contract will become the norm again, with a few exceptions. A majority of the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Parliament, will almost certainly vote in favor of this on Tuesday.

The bill has divided the coalition parties. The VVD, Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s party, does not want the law to take effect. The other coalition parties, D66, CDA and ChristenUnie, are in favor. Housing Minister Hugo de Jonge is a CDA member.

The D66 and SP amendment intend to address the problem that more and more students are experiencing with their room rentals. Short rental contracts are being offered more often, causing a great deal of stress and uncertainty, said SP Member of Parliament Sandra Beckerman and her D66 colleague, Faissal Boulakjar.

In their view, students need a stable base instead of constantly having to look for other accommodation. Because of this uncertainty, students also hardly dare to complain to their landlord about serious necessary repairs, such as leaks or window frames that have rotted.

Since it became possible to offer temporary rental contracts in 2016, landlords are rarely offering campus contracts of varying durations, according to D66 and SP. Housing associations do use campus contracts for student housing, precisely to keep the flow of residents moving, and to prevent graduates from living in cheaper student units for too long.

Reporting by ANP

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