Squatting is not the problem, but the solution…..!!!!
Originally published by Squat Net.
The new bill on squatting has no added value whatsoever. Since the Squatting and Vacant Property Act came into force in 2010, the squatting of homes and business premises has been reduced enormously. People who want to squat are frightened by the sanctions that are imposed if caught in the act. Owners have a large number of options to bridge any temporary vacancies by registering or by hiring anti-squat companies.
It is precisely the massive deployment of vacancy management by owners that has made squatting considerably more difficult. Owners also have a legal option to have a squatted property to their disposal again. At least, provided they have adequate concrete plans for that building. It is this legal intermediate step that makes it clear whether owners speculate on properties or not. In that sense, squatters have always had a signal function. This important function disappears with this new law.
Squatting is already complicated enough for squatters under current legislation. Practice shows that most buildings remain squatted for less than 3 or 4 months. Squatters who have been working on this for a number of years often have to give up after such a period because it is difficult to constantly have to leave under pressure and start something new. The current practice and law is therefore really no problem for owners. They usually only lose the use of their property for a short period of time.
It is undesirable that the new law allows owners to leave their properties vacant and unhindered for the sole purpose of enriching themselves. And that while there is still a drastic vacancy of homes and business premises and the housing shortage has risen to unprecedented levels. In addition, the number of social rental homes has been reduced considerably.
Starters or people with a lower income are increasingly getting into serious problems because they cannot afford the current ‘normal’ rents. The liberal developments of the market ensure that rents are constantly being increased. As long as the government is unable to make the housing market more accessible to everyone and, in addition, to tackle the housing shortage firmly, squatting is a means that must be allowed.
The current squatting and vacancy law is used unilaterally: only to the detriment of the squatters. Where owners are obliged to report vacancy on pain of a fine, which, incidentally, is very limited, since 2010 only ONE single owner in the whole of the Netherlands has been fined. And that was in 2017! How is that possible if the vacancy rate in Amsterdam was more than 2.5 million m2 in 2010 and currently still 1.5 million m2? How many owners register their vacancy? When will that become public? More and more, laws seem to be becoming an instrument for an elite that mercilessly enrich themselves on the basis of those laws. Get rid of the new proposal and destroy the old squat law.
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