Leiden is working on a healthy housing market

| Municipality of Leiden

That Leiden is and remains a pleasant and liveable city for everyone is of great importance to the municipality. The board of mayor and aldermen (B&W) therefore proposes new rules regarding good landlordship, housing formation and rooming, and the introduction of a purchase protection. With this package of measures, the municipality wants to tackle wrongdoing in the private rental sector, nuisance caused by housing formation and rooming, and the buying up of houses by investors.

Good landlordship 

To protect tenants who have to deal with undesirable behaviour from their landlord, the board of B&W proposes new rules to the city council. Discrimination, intimidation, rents that are too high: there are regular wrongdoings in the rental of housing. The municipality wants to set up a reporting point for all tenants and house seekers in Leiden who experience undesirable behaviour from landlords or rental intermediaries. The new law on Good Landlordship contains general rules that all landlords must comply with. When undesirable rental behaviour is reported, the municipality can take enforcement action. In collaboration with the existing Rent Team, tenants are supported and wrongdoings are tackled. Finally, it is proposed to introduce a rental permit in neighbourhoods where the social and physical liveability is under pressure. Without this rental permit, a landlord may not rent out.

Housing formation and rooming

In some neighbourhoods an increasing deterioration of liveability occurs due to housing formation and rooming. In these neighbourhoods, the ratio between the number of students and other residents has become skewed due to rooming of properties. To prevent exploitation of tenants and nuisance in the neighbourhood, the rules for housing formation, rooming and withdrawal of housing are adjusted. The college of B&W proposes to maintain the permit requirement for conversion and housing formation in a number of neighbourhoods where liveability is under pressure. The conversion and formation of houses is regulated in those neighbourhoods by introducing a maximum percentage (quota) of converted dwellings per street.

Alderman Julius Terpstra: “Students and other residents can live together well in Leiden. I am convinced of that and there are many examples of where it just goes well. But at the moment, especially in certain streets, the nuisance really is too great. Where liveability is under pressure, action is taken.”

Purchase protection

With the proposal for a Purchase Protection, the college of B&W wants to counter further excesses on the housing market. Leiden residents who want to buy a house often lose out to traders. Rental properties are often temporarily occupied. This leads to anonymous neighbourhoods, not pleasant residential areas where residents know each other, look after each other and greet each other. As from January 1 2024 Leiden wants to prevent the buying of property to then rent it out expensively. This already applies to new construction with the obligation of self-occupancy. Alderman Julius Terpstra: “Wealthy investors are often too quick for starters and families who have a middle income when buying a home. With the introduction of the Purchase Protection for owner-occupied homes with a WOZ (real estate valuation) value up to €355,000, affordable owner-occupied homes remain accessible for starters and families who want to come and live in Leiden.”

Participation and consultation

The municipality has presented the package of measures to, among others, neighbourhood associations, student associations (including PKvV), Leiden University, private landlords, (rental) brokers, housing corporations, tenants’ organizations and the members of the group Vital City Center during two meetings. The amended regulations will be available for inspection until October 5th, after which they will be submitted to the city council for consideration.

The preparations for the intended date of entry into force of January 1, 2024 of the measures have started. After the adoption of the package of measures, an extensive communication campaign will be launched to inform residents and other stakeholders about the new measures.