Newsflash! (not really) The Amsterdam housing market is ridden with housing fraud and illegal subletting.
It is estimated that almost a fifth of the homes in Amsterdam are being illegally sublet. This poses a serious problem as only 3% of the all housing corporations’ homes enter the market each year, and the waiting time for a house is nearly 14 years.
Subletting in Amsterdam: What are the housing associations doing?
These housing corporations have taken it upon themselves to catch people committing housing fraud by scrolling through rental websites. A NOS report stated that one rental site found 4300 suspicious addressed.
Consequences of illegally subletting in Amsterdam
A person found to be illegally subletting a property will be evicted, and will not be charged a penalty fine as it isn’t an economic offense. However, there could be a penalty clause included in the tenancy agreement for illegally subletting a home. So be sure to read that agreement carefully before choosing to sublet!
Subletting in Amsterdam: The many forms of Gentrification in the Netherlands
Gentrification can be marked by the growing anxiety around displacement of low income people by more affluent and higher income people who can afford to pay the rising rental prices, or to buy a house which is valued much higher than before. Tying gentrification to only Airbnb where it drives up the demand of rental houses and increases the economic value of neighbourhoods, does not look at the full picture.
Illegal subletting has been differentiated from Airbnb to focus directly on the threat it poses to the social housing system, where fewer affordable houses are available for families and people from the lower income group. Jolanda Roffelsen, an inspector for one of the biggest housing associations in Amsterdam, told NOS that they are failing to provide these affordable homes because more and more people choose to illegally sublet to make an extra income, by grossly overcharging for rent. This makes the houses more accessible and affordable for the more affluent renters, rather than the low income families. (want to read more about the cost of living in Amsterdam, which could be a reason that people could feel the need to illegally sublet? Totally possible!)
So is it really worth participating in the process of gentrification? Do you think the government should be doing more to curb this, or does this fall entirely on the housing associations? What do you think we can do as renters? Let us know in the comments!