UR | No place like home
There’s no place like home: a famous sentence for a basic necessity. However, for many students, meeting this basic necessity did not go as it should have with many failing to acquire a homestead all together. Almost halfway through the year, I asked myself the question: is there really no place like home for all students living in Eindhoven?
For this column, I went out to get the perspective of the international students. A few years ago there was a great shortage of student housing, with internationals being hit harder by this shortage than the Dutch students due to 'Dutch-only' housing and waiting lists which are often unknown to internationals. A decisive action plan resulted in new housing projects in Eindhoven.
The first step was taken but it did not answer to the disproportionate growth in demand, as it had already risen faster than the plan had accounted for. Luckily, the problems were meager compared to cities like Rotterdam where reports came in of students couch-surfing and even taking refuge in cars. Even now, too many students are still struggling to find a place to sleep, let alone live.
To probe the situation in Eindhoven, I spoke to some of the international students at TU/e. The complaints baffled me and my colleagues at Groep-één: far too many internationals are not treated properly by their landlords and housing companies. Often we heard about unclear rental agreements, inappropriate entry of dwellings by landlords and deposits which did not get settled in a fair manner. This was often highly undesirable -and frankly illegal- treatment of tenants, and the harsher issues are many a time the hardest ones to fight for as a student.
To tackle this, starting at TU/e, Michael Stolk and I teamed up with the current chairwoman of COSMOS and the International Office of ESA. Currently, we’re working on streamlining the process of renting for current and future students in Eindhoven, hoping for a more transparent and fair protocol when getting a room. There will be a comprehensive checklist on arrival and troubleshooting when a problem arises, giving you the help you need to act on problems and informing you on your rights. Just so that all students in Eindhoven will feel: There’s no place like home!