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Municipality sets limits on temporary rentals to international students

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The growing need among international students and expats for temporary accommodation in Utrecht must not be at the expense of the availability and affordability of housing in the city. That is why in Utrecht, since this month, new rules have been established for landlords of short stay accommodations.

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Due to the corona crisis, it is quite possible that fewer international students will come to Utrecht after the summer. But until very recently, the situation was such that there was an increasing demand for temporary housing for this group and for temporary workers from abroad. The fear was that this development would lead to further disruption of the regular Utrecht housing market.

That is why the city council decided that from April 1st it is forbidden to temporarily house international students or expats in buildings in Utrecht that have a residential purpose. Anyone who has a building without a residential purpose and wishes to rent it out to international students or expats must have an exploitation permit in accordance with the Utrecht Hospitality Ordinance. Basically, a landlord must start a kind of hotel. The only difference is that short stay involves a stay of a minimum of two weeks up to a maximum of one year.

Landlords who can prove that they have been renting out accommodations for an extended period of time to students or employees who are temporarily staying in the Netherlands are granted a five-year postponement. After that time, their property must be given a residential function again. It is unknown how many accommodations this involves.

"We would like to facilitate the growing need for temporary accommodation without increasing the pressure on our housing market," says councilman Klaas Verschuure in a press release. "That is why we now classify temporary accommodation under a specific accommodation destination and not under a residential destination.

The municipality has decided that in the next two years, new short stay accommodations will be allowed for a maximum of 780 international students and 300 expats. In the opinion of the city council, this should suffice. Most students and expats will stay here for a year or more and live in regular residences with normal rental contracts. With the limit, the city council also wants to prevent the houses from being temporarily rented out at high prices to people who are actually looking for a house for an indefinite period of time.

The numbers are based on an estimate of the need by research agency Decisio. At the beginning of last year, there were some 280 short stay units in the city that already met the new requirements. In addition, the SSH rents out some 790 room short stay units. However, these do not fall under the municipal regulations, because they are non-autonomous units that are rented out on a non-profit basis.

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