LSVb: 'Student Hotels are violating students’ rights'

In Student Hotels students pay too much rent and do not enjoy any tenant protection. Municipalities should intervene, according to the National Student Union (LSVb). In Eindhoven the Student Hotel at the NS station is nearing completion. Students should be able to stay there as of February 2017.

In Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Groningen and The Hague, among other places, Student Hotels have been opened in the past few years: hotels that offer students a fully furnished room for a maximum period of one year. The LSVb says this concerns 2,400 rooms across the country. In Eindhoven the Student Hotel near the NS station will be ready to receive occupants as of February 2017. There are plans for building hotels in Maastricht and Enschede as well.

As they work with hotel permits, the hotels do not need to comply with tenancy law and students are not protected as well legally as ordinary tenants. For instance, they can be turned out into the street far more easily than in case of regular rent, is the warning coming from the National Student Union (LSVb).

The price for a room of 19 m2 may run up to 1,100 euros per month. Anyone who wants to leave their room prematurely can pass on their contract to another student, but the conditions stipulate that this costs 350 euros. If you are overdue with your rent, you are fined 25 euros and the room door is blocked automatically. Students may also be forced to switch to another room.

Student Hotels cannot identify with the picture presented by the LSVb. The company says it focuses especially on international students who often stay in the Netherlands for a short period only. The rooms are fully furnished and students can use all kinds of facilities. The rent mentioned by the LSVb is alleged to present a distorted picture: there are also rooms that cost 635 euros per month.

In an earlier interview with the NRC the Irish proprietor Charlie MacGregor said: “I never wanted to be a hotel, but with a hotel permit I am not bound to all those restrictions.” He referred among other things to the levy on lessors and the maximum amount which lessors can ask under the points system.

“At present the Student Hotels are slipping through loopholes in the law”, says LSVb chairman Jarmo Berkhout. “That should not be possible. They ought to be regarded as regular dwellings, so that students are protected better and pay normal rents.”

If the municipalities should be unwilling to cooperate, Berkhout hopes that national politics will chip in. “It is not only annoying for students, but for other lessors as well. They are suffering from unfair competition as things are now.”

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