Press release

Published: 16 March 2023Last change: 16 March 2023

Although the quality of many homes in The Hague is on average in order, the quality of private rental homes in particular is rapidly deteriorating, according to research by the municipality of The Hague. A significant downward spiral is visible in districts such as Laak, Rustenburg-Oostbroek and parts of the Transvaal and the Schilderswijk. A combination of factors such as bad landlord practices, inadequate investments in maintenance and sustainability, and a relatively large number of vulnerable tenants with little protection means that housing and quality of life problems are piling up here.

The city council of The Hague has had an investigation carried out over the past two years to the quality of the housing stock in The Hague. This shows that material (serious) and functional (serious) defects are most common in pre-war homes, single-family homes with a WOZ value below 300. euros and small VvEs. In a number of areas in the city, an accumulation of problems can be seen. This is where poor energy labels, above average levels of energy poverty, illegal rental, overcrowding and social and quality of life problems come together.

Getting basic quality in order in The Hague The costs of having homes meet what the Municipal Executive calls the basic quality of The Hague are estimated at a minimum of half a billion euros. The Municipal Executive is therefore coming up with a target group and area-oriented approach to eliminate the arrears city-wide in collaboration with home owners, private landlords and housing corporations. A home of basic quality in The Hague must meet the following requirements: good insulation, sustainable energy, cooking with clean energy, is healthy and safe, has an active VvE and is rented out according to good landlord practices.

The approach costs a lot of money. Homeowners and landlords are primarily responsible for this. More instruments will be used in the near future to allow owners and lessors to make a greater contribution. The municipality will play a more intensive role with existing policy and new opportunities offered by the government: housing impulse, resources for energy transition (from the Acceleration of the Built Environment Program and the local neighborhood approach of the National Insulation Programme), resources from the Public Housing Fund. The forthcoming Municipalities (Good Landlordship) Act will also help in this respect.

The Hague city renovation

In specific districts, the state of repair of homes is more challenging than average. Alderman Balster (Public Housing, Welfare and Southwest): “There are neighborhoods in our city where the homes and living situations are really dramatic. This research shows where this is the case and offers tools for a targeted approach. We are developing this approach into a plan for urban renovation in The Hague, in which maintenance and sustainability go hand in hand, with a strong focus on what tenants in a dependent position can and cannot do themselves.”

2023Balster continues: “I find the situation we often encounter unacceptable, we need to break this downward trend. The municipality wants to assist residents with advice and action if necessary, including financially. So that everyone in The Hague can live comfortably in a safe and healthy home in the future.”National Private Neighborhood Program

For neighborhoods where residents suffer from a downward spiral when it comes to quality of life and quality of life, the state is also coming to the rescue. Here comes a complementary approach that extends beyond the quality of the home alone. In the districts of Rustenburg-Oostbroek, Laak and parts of the Transvaal and Schilderswijk – as the municipality and central government have established – there is a combination of factors that means that (private) home improvement – ​​even with financial instruments and intensive supervision – is not self-evident. This is due, among other things, to poor landlord practices, VvEs with little clout, less wealthy residents, poor employment practices (think of rogue employment agencies employing many migrant workers), undermining, etc.

“Cooperation with and help from the government is necessary in this regard. Together we will take up the gauntlet in the coming period and, in addition to the targeted use of financial resources from the government, we will also try to deploy instruments that should stop the decline of these old neighborhoods in terms of quality of life and living conditions. Consider, for example, the use of the rental permit and intensifying enforcement with all necessary parties such as the Labor Inspectorate or Building Brigade,” says alderman Balster. The research

The research was carried out by Arcadis on behalf of the municipality of The Hague. The research area covers the entire housing stock in The Hague, which was built before 2023. Both corporation property and private property (occupied by owner or privately rented out) were examined. A distinction has been made between the so-called architectural shell (outer facade, roof) and the themes surrounding safe and healthy living (or the indoor climate).

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