The manager handling tenancy matters on behalf of Raoul’s landlord (a Quote500 man) does not want to say why Raoul’s temporary lease has not been extended. But Raoul himself has a suspicion: “I checked my rent with the rent committee, which showed a lower rent than I paid. I got the rent reduction, but then my lease was not extended.” According to Raoul, this shows that you have practically no rights with a temporary lease. “Which is absurd because housing is a basic need.”
No place for me
If your basic need – and basic right – is so opposed by legislation, it’s not only annoying, “it’s very intense. And it makes for very intense thoughts,” says Raoul. He’s not alone in this. We’ve already received more than 50 reviews about the psychological consequences of the housing crisis at our contact point for Unge & Starters. For example, 46 of these journalists stated that they experienced ‘stress, panic or anger’. And 40 journalists ‘sometimes have the feeling that there is no room for them’. Raoul recognizes that too. Not surprising when looking for a home has consumed your time and energy for years and you’re only a few weeks away from homelessness so many times.
Temporarily as the norm
In 2016, the options for temporary tenancies have been expanded. The idea behind this by then minister and flex ambassador Stef Blok was that it would lead to more housing supply, but that permanent leases would continue to be the norm. However, research and practice show that there is not more housing supply, but more housing insecurity. To make matters worse, temporary contracts have increasingly become the norm, and tenants on temporary contracts are fearful of getting their due. “With good reason,” Raoul confirms from experience.
You don’t get your right
The reports Woonbond has received show that tenants with a temporary lease more often have problems with their landlord. According to Woonbond, temporary contracts bring housing insecurity, higher rents and a diminished legal position for tenants, so there are plenty of reasons to abolish them. Raoul also believes that “in politics, the protection of the basic needs of the weaker party – in this case the tenant – should weigh more heavily than the few hundred euros that the landlord can earn extra. “
In his video message, Raoul speaks directly to his landlord with the request; ‘Can I at least stay until I find a new home?’ Unfortunately, the administrator’s answer remained no. But eventually Raoul was offered another rental property from them. Before Raoul’s video went viral, they weren’t actively thinking about a solution. “Of course it’s nice that I got a new place, but it also hurts.” Not only because the house is less big and good, but primarily because the relationship between tenant and landlord is not good. “It’s a toxic relationship. If I had a relationship like that with someone, I would end it. But in this case, I remain dependent on them.”
By sharing his personal story, Raoul wants to contribute to the social debate about housing and temporary contracts. His situation is an example of the constant housing insecurity experienced by the many victims of the housing crisis. And even if you experience the problem yourself, the causes and solutions are of a political nature. Meanwhile, Raoul’s video has also reached politics. Where it will hopefully be taken as an indictment of temporary tenancies. Raoul also wants to say to other tenants and house hunters: “Always check your rent, because many pay too much. But I would say: only work on it if you have a permanent lease.”
Report housing problems
Are you, like Raoul and many other journalists, having trouble finding a permanent, affordable place to live? Report your situation and experiences via the Youth & Starters Hotline. Anyone up to the age of 35 (or just a little older) can go here. The reports help Woonbond draw attention to the problems of young tenants and home seekers in media and politics in The Hague. Where Woonbonden continues to speak out against flexibility in leases and tenant rights.