“The housing shortage has been a problem for quite some time and has several causes,” says Kelly Fransen, chairman of DAS. “For example, the new regulation of the municipality, which causes almost no new permits to be issued for student houses. In addition, new housing projects mainly focus on studios, but students want rooms in shared housing. However, it is more interesting for investors to build studios, because they can earn more. This is due to the housing allowance. The investor asks (almost) the maximum amount for the studios, allowed to receive housing allowance. The student applies to get the allowance, the government pays the money and the investor earns extra. A strange rule and I hope it will disappear,” Fransen says. "Only then investors will be stimulated to not just build studios."
More housing on campus
“We have to deal better with the space we have in Eindhoven and be more creative,” she says. “Everyone wants to live within the ring, but it is full. So it is important that when buildings become vacant or are up for renovation, we look more closely at how we can use that space for (student) accommodation. And we have to build vertically.” Several attendees of the brainstorm certainly also see a role for the university in this. Fransen: “The city is at its maximum, but the campus still has space. It would be nice if the university uses that. In the brainstorm, the international office of the TU/e noted that many internationals prefer to live on campus," Fransen says. "This is probably due to other countries where this is common."
Viktor van 't Klooster of the CDJA, the youth party of the CDA agrees with Fransen: “We want the university to take its responsibility here. The construction sites in Eindhoven are limited, but there is still space on the campus, so it would be good if the university made that space available. But this problem is bigger than Eindhoven. It must be addressed nationally under government control. That is why we propose a new Ministry of Housing to be established. The government is slow in realizing housing. We are here only now, while students who have been bothered by this, have almost graduated in the meantime.”
On that topic: the TU/e is currently working on the tender for seven hundred new student accommodations on campus. They are planned on the site where the Pavilion is now being dismantled. Two residential towers will be built there, with a 'student village' in between, based on the Olympic village of the Munich Games in 1972. The first new residential tower should be ready for use in 2023, the Executive Board expects.
CDA councilor Miriam Frosi is currently still busy with the interests of students who rent from Camelot. She has asked the council questions about this, yet there are still many complaints, as we previously reported about Luna. “Miriam paid a visit to Luna and discussed the complaints with Camelot. Camelot has promised improvement, but complaints continue to come in. Unfortunately, I cannot elaborate on this,” Van 't Klooster says. Rick Blezer of the Huurteam has also noticed the complaints about Camelot. “It often concerns the settlement and service costs and students ask us what is and what is not allowed. But the agreement with tenants who request our help is that we will not discuss individual cases with third parties.”
“There is a mismatch in what is needed and what is being built: the market has to make money and that is why people with the large wallets always get priority,” Van 't Klooster says. “CDJA is in favor of Collective Private Commissioning (CPC). This means that a group of private individuals, in this case students, has full control over the homes to be built. “Then we will at least build what is needed. In other cities you have examples of students who have set up a housing association themselves. Something similar happened in Leiden in the 1970s,” Van 't Klooster knows. “And recently in Amsterdam,” Fransen adds.
Save money on rent
Established in May 2020, Eindhoven has its own rental team now. An initiative of the municipality of Eindhoven, Vestide (social housing for students) and the educational institutions in the city. This team advises students on their rights and obligations when renting a room or independent living space. The focus is on rental prices, service costs and defects. Rick Blezer, employee of the huurteam, sees that it is necessary: “Since the start in Eindhoven we have already received 236 reports. This ranges from simple questions such as ‘how do I end my contract?’ or ‘can a landlord just kick me out?’ to procedures at rent commissions. Our expected savings after these procedures have been completed, come down to approx.172,000 euros. Under the assumption that a student will live in a house for an average of three years.”
The national student union (LSVb) calculates the average rent of a room every year, and it also calculates how many students pay too much and what amount they overpay. On average, 79 percent of students pay too much rent for their accommodation, which comes down to 106.69 euros per month. “This seems to be consistent with our experience, with many peaks,” Blezer says. “We suspect that the high demand and low supply will cause the prices to have gone up, despite the rules to set the maximum rent. The advice is therefore that if you are going to change rooms or have just changed, to ask the Huurteam to check whether you are not paying too much. You would be surprised how much you can save. Our services are free for students because the Huurteam is co-financed by the educational institutions TU/e, Fontys and DAE. The rent is based on the quality of the living space, with surface area being an important factor, especially for student rooms. There is little to discuss there: a square meter is a square meter."
And from here
“There are currently no concrete actions coming from the brainstorm, but we do have points of attention,” Fransen says. “The youth parties will take the outcomes to their mother party in the local council. And we will continue to raise the issue of housing with the university. There is also a student housing project group, within the municipality of Eindhoven, working on this and the brainstorm put the subject more on the agenda for all parties.