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Insecure tenure

The precarisation of rental housing in the Netherlands
PhD ceremony:Ms C.J. Huisman
When:October 22, 2020
Supervisor:prof. dr. C.H. (Clara) Mulder
Co-supervisor:prof. dr. L.B. (Louise) Meijering
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Spatial Sciences
Insecure tenure

Insecure Tenure- The precarisation of rental housing in the Netherlands

Secure housing is important for people’s well-being. Uncertainty about if and when you will need to leave your home has a negative effect on ontological security, the psychological stability that people need to live a meaningful life. This thesis answers the question whether rental housing in the Netherlands, over the last twenty years, has become less secure. The conclusion is that Dutch renting is becoming precarious to a significant extent. The successive introductions of new temporary contract forms goes very quickly, as do the continuous steep rent increases and the increases of starting rents. Rules on security of tenure, rent ceilings and maintenance are in theory still strong, but in practice knowledge of these regulations is almost non-existent, and enforcement is so weak that the rules have become largely meaningless. Empirical evidence shows that the majority of young adults in Amsterdam has a temporary renting contract, rather than a permanent one or being an owner occupier. This process of increasing precarity of the Dutch rental sector, or in other words, precarisation, manifests itself simultaneously through three processes. These are the increasing widening of the situations in which temporary rental contracts are legally permitted, the non-enforcement of regulations and the overt discursive shift against renting in recent decades. Until recently the strength of the Dutch rental sector was that it offered almost as much security as buying a house. However, this strength is now being rapidly eroded – and it will not be easy to reverse this situation once it is too late.