Students feel ripped off by unscrupulous landlords
The protesters, all dressed in white onesies with black spots and udders, were careful to observe social distancing rules, keeping 1.5 metres apart and wearing face masks. Someone with a megaphone explained why they were there.
They want Minister of Interior Kajsa Ollongren (D66) to introduce fines for ‘slumlords’ who, as they say in Dutch, ‘milk their houses’ and charge higher rents than the law allows them to. At present, however, there is no real penalty for this practice.
Currently, tenants who are being asked to pay too much rent can take their case to the rent assessment committee. If the committee rules in the tenant's favour, the landlord will have to repay the difference. However, the activists think the government is not taking a hard enough line.
Since yesterday, an online petition is calling on the Minister to take action. The campaign was organised by the National Student Union and the youth union FNV Young & United.
In September, Statistics Netherlands reported the largest increase in rents in six years. In the same month, the National Student Union warned that more and more students are being asked to pay too much.