22 June 2023, by Victoria Séveno

A new law drafted by Housing Minister Hugo de Jonge, which would allow municipalities to force homeowners to sell their properties to low and middle-income earners, has received majority support in the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer), the AD reports. 

Houses up to 355.000 euros can only be sold to certain groups

Over the past several months, the government has taken various steps in order to improve the accessibility of the Dutch housing market for first-time buyers and middle-income earners. The latest step in De Jonge’s plan, according to a report by the AD, includes opening up opportunities for groups earning lower-than-average salaries

The law drafted by De Jonge – which has already received support from a majority of members of parliament – stipulates that municipalities in the Netherlands can intervene in the sales processes of owner-occupied homes with a value of up to 355.000 euros, and force homeowners to sell only to low or middle-income earners. 

Currently, due to high house prices and interest rates on mortgages, as well as a trend of overbidding, it can be difficult for certain groups to buy property. According to the AD, the new law would mean municipalities have “the freedom not to give wealthier prospective buyers a permit to live somewhere.”

VVD and D66 aren’t wholly supportive of De Jonge’s plan

Despite De Jonge’s aims – and the support from parliament – the law has also met significant criticism from some of the minister’s fellow cabinet members. As the AD explains, both the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and D66 worry the law “is an infringement of the property rights of homeowners.” 

“What if you want to get rid of your house quickly because of a divorce? Then you have to go through all kinds of hoops of the municipality,” D66’s Faissal Boulakjar queried. What’s more, the Council of State is concerned the policy could drive up house prices – but De Jonge doesn’t share these concerns.

Thumb: Wut_Moppie via Shutterstock.com.

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