Can student houses be considered households?

Don’t fine students when they sit outside with their housemates, student unions say. The same rules should apply to student houses and families. But not every municipality uses the same definition as the national government. The Christian Democratic Youth Appeal (CDJA) submitted questions, which will be answered by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of Eindhoven this evening.

photo Viktor van 't Klooster

Strict rules continue to apply throughout the duration of the corona virus, both at home and outdoors. For example, people who go out into the streets in groups of three or more without maintaining a 1.5 meters distance will be fined. Unless they are members of the same household. Because families live in close proximity anyway, according to the government. But what about students living in one house or in the same unit? They are not considered members of a household, even though they live in close proximity and even share kitchens and bathrooms.

Lack of clarity

And that leads to confusion. Last week, seventeen residents of student campus Uilenstede in Amstelveen were fined for sitting outside together. And groups of ‘gathering’ students in front of a complex in Utrecht were also broken up by the police. The police stated that students need to maintain a distance indoors as well, and if necessary ‘stay in their rooms.’

Student foundation VIDIUS from Utrecht and Amsterdam student union ASVA think this is wrong. Viktor van ‘t Klooster, Architecture, Building and Planning student at TU/e, also believes this is quite unjust. “Student are sanctioned with a fine of 390 euros per person even though it was always said that an exception applies to households with regard to the corona measures. I thought it was time for the CDJA to take action.”

Student complex

That is why the CDJA Brabant sent an open letter to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of Brabant’s university towns Tilburg, Breda, Den Bosch and Eindhoven. “We ask them to clearly communicate what the rules are before students are sanctioned with a fine that amounts to half their income. In what way does a student house differ from a family? Also, it seems rather strange to me when the rules apply differently indoors than in the garden of a student complex, for example. The letter will be sent the Mayor and Aldermen in each university town in the Netherlands.”

He himself lives in a Vestide complex in Hemelrijken in Eindhoven. Van ‘t Klooster: “We live with six people and agreed not to let strangers in the house and to behave like a household unit.” This means that they recently had to adjust a tradition: “It’s a common practice of ours to have our newest housemate organize a dinner for us. Now we’ve adapted the theme to the corona times: ‘videocall’ #skypechique. Wearing formal clothes above table and swimming trunks and slippers under the table"- see photo above the article for proof.

Hopefully, answers will be given tonight during the Municipality Council’s Corona Q&A, starting at 17:00 hrs. Would you like to follow the Dutch spoken meeting? Click here.

Share this article