17 February 2022, by Victoria Séveno

The municipality of Amsterdam has announced a series of new, tougher rules designed to protect the local housing market and prevent homes in the city from standing empty for extended periods of time. 

Tighter rules for property owners in Amsterdam

The Netherlands is facing a serious housing crisis, and nowhere is that crisis more apparent than in Amsterdam. While the Dutch government has committed to plans that should help to provide more affordable housing, municipalities are also looking to see what they can do on a local scale. 

“Amsterdam has to deal with an enormous shortage of housing,” the municipality writes on its website. “We don’t want houses to be empty.” The municipality has therefore proposed stricter rules that “should ensure fewer homes stand empty.”

The first key proposal is that of a higher fine for property owners who fail to report that their property has been vacant for more than six months. The fine currently stands at 5.000 euros for businesses and 2.500 euros for residential properties, but could be increased to 8.700 and 4.350 euros respectively. 

The municipality would also like to have a bigger say in renovations: “For example, the municipality can determine the period within which owners must make their home suitable for habitation, and can oblige them to offer a habitable home within a certain period for a market rate.” 

Homes are meant to be lived in, municipality says

Amsterdam has already announced that new legislation designed to protect the city’s housing from being bought up and rented out by private investors and developers will come into effect on April 1, 2022. 

“Homes are meant to be lived in, not to earn money,” the municipality says. Starting this spring, homes across the city that have a value of under 512.000 euros must be lived in by the buyer. The new rule should protest approximate 60 percent of owner-occupied homes in the city from being rented out by investors for what are often exceptionally high rates. 

These proposals and changes come as the city prepares for the March local elections, in which the issue of the availability of affordable housing is a key topic. A recent housing survey conducted by the municipality found that, between 2019 and 2021, the number of owner-occupied homes in the Dutch capital fell sharply, while the number of privately-owned rental properties had increased by almost 12.000, to over 137.000.

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