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Dutch housing crisis: Fit multiple households into each property

Dutch housing crisis: Fit multiple households into each property

Dutch housing crisis: Fit multiple households into each property

Dutch research agency Platform31 has suggested a new potential solution to the housing crisis in the Netherlands, arguing for existing properties to be made better use of by housing more than one person per home. 

Solving the Netherlands' housing crisis

The Netherlands has a serious housing crisis, with the Dutch government under severe pressure to build more affordable housing. Across the country, prices continue to rise and the housing market becomes more and more competitive, with many people having to overbid to buy their dream home

Platform31 acknowledges the severity of the situation and has proposed a new solution to the problem. Keeping in mind the fact that 40 percent of homes are inhabited by only one person, and that the Netherlands has an average of 65 square metres of living space available per person - higher than either Germany or Belgium - the research agency suggests it might make sense to house more than one household in each home. 

The report focuses on making better use of the existing housing stock and hopes to contribute to solving the housing shortage and provide housing to people who desperately need it. "Houses are often not used efficiently. Living together should pay more," explains Frank Wassenberg. “The more people who can move into existing homes, the less you have to build." 

Fitting multiple households into each property

Platform 31’s report suggests a handful of options when it comes to encouraging people to choose to live with someone else. For example, altering contract laws so that, for example, elderly people may feel more comfortable letting out a spare room to a student or young professional. “More and more elderly people who live alone experience loneliness. Then you think: one plus one equals two?" Wassenberg says. 

Alternatively, students and young professions could team up with friends and rent a house together, where each of them have their own bedroom. They could either be jointly responsible for the monthly rent - a so-called friends contract - or each has an individual rental agreement with the landlord.

The research agency estimates that, by adopting some of their proposed policies, the national housing shortage could be reduced by around 15.000 homes per year to approximately 264.000. Ellen van Bueren, professor of Urban Development Management at TU Delft, says “it’s worth trying out all the measures, because it can provide relief in the short term,” but emphasises the fact that it might be tricky to encourage people to play along: “not everyone has the same urgency to alleviate the housing shortage."

Victoria Séveno

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Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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AndreiLastName2 22:28 | 11 August 2021

" 40 percent of homes are inhabited by only one person, and that the Netherlands has an average of 65 square metres of living space available per person" First of all, a quick search on the internet reveals that 65 sqm is actually the national average home size (according to the national statistics office CBS). I repeat, average house size NOT average per person, so way to go lying about this one. And what about the other 60 percent of homes that are shared, don't you think they count heavily towards the 65 sqm per person average (that you falsely present)? Shame on you for taking a minor segment of 40% living alone of which: students, young professionals, older singles, senior citizens and widowers; attribute to it a general average driven mostly by a majority of shared houses (60% >40%) and then blame it on young people for wanting to live alone and be independent! What's more is that the average studio is around 30 sqm, nowhere near the 65 sqm you ramble about. "Alternatively, students and young professions could team up with friends and rent a house together" How about NO? How about regulating the housing problem instead, so I don't pay more than 100% of someone else's mortgage with my rent? How about NOT making "landlord" a profession for passive income capital-hackers? And how about NOT DELETING MY COMMENTS every time because they expose the flaws in your shameful article?

RETLAMB2 08:25 | 12 August 2021

Surely these shared schemes exist already? In Breda students can rent shared buildings with 10 bedrooms linked to one shared kitchen and Lounge. They are also used for people of low income. In the UK it is quite common for a group of friends to rent or buy a shared home. Each person paying a proportionate amount of rent to their individual bedroom size with equal joint access to the common areas like kitchen and lounge etc.

RajaBandaru2 22:36 | 12 August 2021

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PoschFeld2 15:38 | 24 September 2021

Funny enough, living together is not only not encouraged, but properly discouraged in those cities where housing crisis hits hardest. In Amsterdam for instance, it's almost impossible to find a flat for three people from different households even if you would prefer that. For my younger brother, my girlfriend and me it was cheaper and easier to find two separate flats than share one. Really gotta laugh every time I see 5-room apartments with a GEEN DELERS, GEEN STUDENTEN and GEEN GARANTIESTELLER up on funda for multiple thousands a months. What kind of average families do you expect to live there? How many gym rooms, art rooms and home offices do you think are enough for a married/registered double-earning power couple that might be able to afford this? This housing crisis is self-made...