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."