Volleyball players to keep Hajraa House

Housing association Sint Trudo has given the residents of the Hajraa House the good news that when the house on Kerkstraat is sold, they will be considered sitting tenants. So the Hajraa House will continue and will not be renovated for social housing, as Trudo had planned. “With our effort and ideas we have persuaded Trudo that the Hajraa House should be preserved and Trudo has imposed these conditions on the sale, which is highly exceptional.”

Lucas van Cappellen, who together with the other occupants put his shoulder to the wheel in the ‘Save the Hajraa House’ work group, is pleased with the decision. Previously, the favored solution was to gather together a group who would buy the premises at 7A through the Hajraa Foundation. But 7A is being sold on the open market by a realtor as a single lot with Kerkstraat 7 and 7B. “This means we can't make an offer as the Hajraa House Foundation and buy the house. However, the house will be sold with us as sitting tenants and on the condition that we keep our status as the Hajraa House,” says Van Cappellen. He explains how this came about.

“For the past three years Trudo has reasoned that they could sell Kerkstraat 7A (the Hajraa House) to the Hajraa House Foundation as a ‘sale to existing occupants’. This would fall outside most legislation because the premises would continue to be used as housing. However, it was later ascertained that the sale of the premises to us as a foundation would be deemed a ‘sale to a third party’. That is subject to far more legislation and other conditions apply. Among other things, other market parties must be able to bid, and so there has to be an official sale on the open market.” As Van Cappellen knows, the Hajraa House Foundation cannot get the necessary funds together as quickly as this situation requires. “Besides, we don't have enough capital to buy the whole building. So we can't submit a bid.”

Open market

This means Trudo must sell the house on the open market through a realtor, but it also wants the Hajraa House to carry on as a student house. To this end, all the residents of the Hajraa House are now receiving a tenancy agreement to replace the loan contracts they have been issued with since 2015. “For now, at any rate, the Hajraa's preservation is guaranteed,” says Van Cappellen. “Various conditions will be imposed on the sale: mandatory student housing in 7A, the selection of new tenants by current tenants, and the use of a points system to set the rent. While the rent cannot be set for an indefinite period, a long period is possible. We are in discussion with the realtor to establish the exact conditions.”

Before long the realtor will put the combined premises of 7, 7A and 7B on the market. Ownership is expected to transfer to the new owner in the first few months of 2020, according to Van Cappellen. If a commercial party buys the premises, the Hajraa House will be preserved under these conditions. If for any reason no buyer is found, Trudo has promised that the house will be split up and the Hajraa House Foundation will be the first party given the opportunity to buy 7A.”

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