Duwo: ‘We need the money more badly than the students’

Raising the rent during the corona crisis will cause fewer problems for students than postponing the increase will have on Duwo, says the student housing company.

These student residences on the Stieltjesweg were completed in 2017. (Photo: Jos Wassink)

Since the corona crisis started, the Netherlands has seen a political and social debate about whether or not to increase rents. The Senate even accepted a motion (in Dutch) twice requesting the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Kasja Ollongren to temporarily freeze rents. In April, just as it does every year, Duwo chose to increase the rent on 1 July. The rent for most students will go up by 2.6%. WijWonen, the organisation that represents about 8,500 Duwo tenants in Delft, is critical of this decision. “A real shame,” says Chair Tom Schuurmans, “we would have preferred to see Duwo freeze the rents to September to help the students.” The LSVb students union had already expressed anger about the price hike (in Dutch) earlier this year.

In May, WijWonen and similar rental organisations in other student cities had advised Duwo (in Dutch) in writing that it had “made suggestions for other options such as distinguishing between students who receive rent subsidies and students who do not receive subsidies. Duwo can raise the rent of the former because their subsidies go up every year. Unfortunately, these suggestions were not acted upon.”

‘Four million is peanuts for an organisation like Duwo’

According to Duwo, not increasing the rent this year would make a difference of EUR 4 million, which would amount to EUR 167 million over 30 years. This money is badly needed to build new student accommodation and to make them more sustainable. Delft rental organisations are also critical about this answer. Vulcanus, of which some Duwo tenants are members, says that ‘EUR 4 million is peanuts for a national organisation like Duwo. And that more student accommodation is needed in the short term is clear, but you do not know what the situation will be like in 30 years’.

A last argument that Duwo Chair De Vreeze puts forward is that ‘if the rents are not raised, the people who do not need it, will gain’. Even Minister Ollongren does not see this as a reason for not freezing the rents temporarily. WijWonen Chair Schuurmans says that “Students are in a different financial situation than other people and are often harder hit by the corona crisis. Their part-time jobs with flexible contracts and other temporary constructions have disappeared. This has a huge impact on small student incomes.”

Duwo calls on students who have financial problems to report this so that an individual solution can be found.

  • Are you having problems with Duwo? Then report this to WijWonen through WhatsApp or Instagram.
Editor in chief Saskia Bonger

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