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New rules in Amsterdam will make many share houses illegal12 February 2014, by Alexandra Gowling
A proposed change to rules for house sharing in Amsterdam would mean that 10.000 homes in the capital city would be in violation of the new law.
The change concerns multiple occupancy by three or more adults, such as young singles or students. There are 13.000 households like this in Amsterdam, 80 per cent of which would not comply with the new law should it pass.
Currently, the law states that no house can be shared by three or more people, a rule that is rarely enforced.
In 2013, VVD city councillor Daniel van der Ree drew up plans to make it legal for any house to be shared among three or more adults.
Since then, however, the Amsterdam alderman responsible for housing, PvdA councillor Freek Ossel, has amended the proposal to include size restrictions.
Size restrictions on share houses in Amsterdam
Now, the municipality's proposal is to make it legal for three or more single adults to share a house only if it is larger than 60 metres squared.
Currently there are more than 10.000 share homes that would be in violation of this rule, with residents who could be put out of their homes if the municipality wished to do so.
That is partly because in popular areas for students and young singles like De Pijp, in the city's inner south, almost all homes are smaller than 60 metres squared, according to estimates from property manager Beheer Amsterdam.
Concern over new rules
Van der Ree's intention was to make it easier for people to find a house in Amsterdam, where rents can be expensive.
His motto was "Woningdelen moet mogen" (house sharing should be allowed), as three working friends or students sharing a rental house is permitted elsewhere, has happened in many parts in the city and was tolerated.
Concerning the amended rule, he says, "This is counterproductive. House sharers are now illegal. Neighbours are rubbing their hands: two complaints will mean 'exit students'."
Enforcement of new restrictions
Van der Ree, other VVD and D66 councillors and housing experts are concerned that the municipality will strictly enforce the rules, although Ossel says not. Housing experts are also doubtful whether the new rules are even legally tenable.
Another PvdA councillor Hans Weevers, however, said that while it is true that if you make a rule, you must stand by the principle, "the alderman has said that he will not immediately be hunting violators."
The PvdA and other political parties that support the rule have already said that it is not of the highest priority for them.
Despite the VVD opposition, the rule is likely to be voted in.
Source: Het Parool