Talking point – Competitive housing

It’s the start of another new academic year, and the unusually warm Dutch weather rendered a mendacious picture for the new students who thought it would continue to be the same.

As the weather started showing its true colors, and the students starting settling down, life in Delft might not seem as wonderful as one might have heard. Not to complain about the gorgeous city itself, but the student housing condition at Delft is taking a turn for the worse.

Sitting at the Survival Cafe, I hear random groups of new students jabbering at full speed in foreign languages, and some mixed groups in English. Unfortunately, I could only eavesdrop on the multi-cultural groups, but I didn’t have to wait long to hear ‘Duwo’ come up. Though many are indeed happy with the fact that they were allocated housing before they arrived, many students weren’t completely satisfied with the housing. Be it minor problems with kitchen equipment, or a smelly room, many are loud about their dissatisfaction with the quality of the ‘pricey’ housing.

The last three years has seen a dramatic increase in the admittance of international students to BSc and MSc programs and research positions. The intake is invariably more than the previous years, with more internationals making Delft their new home. Of this big number of students coming from outside the Netherlands, a sizable number also come from outside Europe, making it mandatory that they have a place to call home here even before arriving.

A recent survey conducted in coordination with Duwo, the International Office and other student organizations, like VSSD, Aegee and Diss, gave a picture of the international community’s general consensus regarding housing. Many gave specific complaints regarding quality of housing, ranging from presence of pests to communication problems with Duwo. Though a sizable number said they were ‘okay’ with the housing conditions, there were quite a few who showed their displeasure in writing.

This housing shortage and crisis in Delft is a result of the Dutch visa policy as well as the TU administration, which chose, at one point, to partner solely with one organization, Duwo, for providing housing to the students studying here. While the Dutch-European policy that works towards excluding illegal immigrants is surely harder to change, TU Delft has the power and enough reasons to erase this Duwo monopoly in student housing for the international and Dutch student communities, and in the spirit of a free market economy to allow for market competition that is bound to increase the quality of housing multifold, as well as regulating the rental values for the international student housing market. 

Redacteur Redactie

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