Amsterdam introduces living-in obligation for buyers of new apartments
Share article:
Share article:

Amsterdam introduces living-in obligation for buyers of new apartments

Amsterdam: too expensive for ordinary people. © PxHere

The city of Amsterdam has announced the introduction of a rule that buyers of new-build houses and apartments have to pledge to live in the property themselves, in an effort to prevent ordinary people being priced out of the capital.

The city is not doing this so much to push down prices, but to prevent investors from forcing ordinary middle income families out of the housing market,” explained Peter Boelhouwer, professor of housing systems at the Technical University of Delft.

The measure affects newly constructed homes, but the Dutch government is reported to be working on legislation to make the rule apply also to existing properties.

In Amsterdam, ordinary people such as police officers and nurses can no longer buy a home in the city,” Prof Boelhouwer said. “These people are being pushed out of the market. The obligation to live-in is not so much to counter the price increase, but to make owner-occupied homes more accessible for middle-income buyers”.

Across the whole of the Netherlands, 6% of all homes were purchased by small investors intending to rent the properties out to tenants. In some areas of Amsterdam, such properties now make up as much as 20% of all residential property.

Investors, Prof Boelhouwer explained, buy homes that starters and middle-income families are looking for, and then they are forced to rent, paying more in the process. In Amsterdam, the rent for a flat of 60 square metres starts at about €1,500 a month.

A teacher or a nurse cannot afford that,” he said. “Those homes are rented by expats and the like. For ordinary people that is not affordable.”

The story will be familiar to many people in Belgium, where a similar phenomenon has grown up in some of the communes of the Brussels region (Uccle, Watermael-Boitsfort), the Flemish periphery (Tervuren, Overijse) and Flanders itself.

People who grew up in one area are unable to buy homes in their own town because property prices have been pushed up by speculators and developers.

This week the Belgian federation of notaries reported that the average price of an apartment in Brussels is now €268,923 – €14,000 more than it was in the first half of 2019.

Part of the reason for the increase is that apartments are seen as a good investment as a rental property, known in the trade as a buy-to-let, as there is never a shortage of tenants. And investors tend to have more money to offer the seller than a young family starting out on the property ladder, so they can outbid.

The new Dutch law also applies to buildings which are to be transformed into residential properties, such as factories converted into loft spaces. And the obligation to live-in is inserted in the lease of the property, so that it applies to subsequent buyers.

But there are also exceptions.

Parents may buy a property they intend to rent out to their own children. The owner of a house covered by the new law can rent it when living abroad. And the obligation to live-in does not apply if the rental property is offered at a rent lower than €1,027 a month, and remains within reach of a low- or middle-income tenant.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Anti-vaxxers demonstrate against Covid Safe Ticket in Brussels
Hundreds of supporters of the anti-vaxx movement gathered on Saturday outside the headquarters of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company to protest ...
Belgium’s investment funds total 260 billion euros in assets
Belgium’s funds industry grew by 5.3% (13 billion euros) in the second quarter of this year, bringing investment funds available to the public to ...
Brussels to Luxembourg by train in two hours soon possible
The fastest train ride between Brussels and Luxembourg currently takes almost three hours, but that could be slashed to about two hours thanks to the ...
Daily Covid infections up by almost 30% in Belgium
Between 6 and 12 October, an average of 2,438 people were infected with the Covid-19 virus every day, according to figures from the Sciensano public ...
Over 80,000 companies in Belgium non-compliant with anti-money laundering meassures
Over 80,000 companies and non-profits in Belgium are still not compliant with the Ultimate Business Owner (UBO) register, which is required of them ...
Increase in tax exemption for donations in Belgium fails to meet expectations
The increase from 45% to 60% in the tax exemption for donations, decided by the former federal government in June 2020, has cost Belgium more than ...
Sex workers in Belgium to get more social rights protection
The social rights of sex workers will soon be better protected in Belgium, Belga News Agency reports. The Council of Ministers has approved a draft ...
Belgian firms sent almost 266 billion euros to tax havens last year
Hundreds of Belgian firms sent close to 266 billion euros to tax havens last year, De Tijd reported on Saturday. Any Belgian individual or firm ...
Belgian investigator wins prestigious US prize
Olivier Hardy, an investigator with the federal police’s anti-terrorist unit in Brussels, DR3, received on Friday a "Top Cop" prize in Washington for ...
Pegasus Project: European Parliament awards journalism prize to investigation of use of spyware
The Daphne Caruana Prize for Journalism was awarded on Thursday to the journalists from the Pegasus Project coordinated by the Forbidden Stories ...
Belgians can now test their knowledge of driving rules and win prizes
The Walloon Road Safety Agency (AWSR) launched on Friday a quiz to allow the general public to test their knowledge of the highway code. Last year, ...
600 extras wanted for film about Belgian ‘Porn King’ and notorious Antwerp nightclub
A Belgian movie telling the story of a notorious Antwerp nightclub with connections to a Belgian 'Porn King' is looking for 600 extras at the end of ...