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Utrecht drops in ranking of best student housing cities

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Enschede has been named the best student housing city of 2018. Delft, last year’s winner, has fallen all the way down the ranking. Utrecht drops further down the ranking, scoring a failing grade on half of all criteria.

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This Friday, the National Student Union LSVb and knowledge centre for student housing Kences will present the award for Best Student Housing City for the second time. The event is organised to draw attention to the housing shortage among students, as the National Monitor Student Housing 2018 shows that many Dutch college cities face significant shortages of affordable student housing. The result is that thousands of students have to travel back and forth between their university city and their parental home every day. The award praises cities that use clever policies to combat this issue.

The thirteen students with the biggest student populations were assessed for their student housing policies. Do they work together with housing corporations? How easy is it for private citizens to rent out their buildings to students? And how adequate is the information the city provides landlords and tenants? The assessment also looked at new initiatives and projects.

‘Enschede is a good example for other cities’
This year, then, Enschede comes out on top, the LSVb says. “Although the housing shortage is the least dire in Enschede, the city still actively works to provide affordable, safe student housing. That makes them a good example to other college cities, and they can be proud of that,” says LSVb chairwoman Carline van Breugel.

Enschede actively collaborates with housing corporations and does a lot to ensure students have a fair chance at getting a place to live. The student housing platform that was set up for this goal, in collaboration with the educational institution, is highly praised in the jury’s report.

Wageningen, second place in the ranking, is praised for its annual student housing monitor, which it makes in collaboration with the university and student housing organisation Idealis. In Tilburg, too, frequent discussions and meetings are organised between educational institutions, the municipality, and corporations. That city even guarantees housing to international students.

RankingCityPoints
1Enschede28
2Wageningen27
3Tilburg26
4Maastricht25
Amsterdam24,5
 Rotterdam24,5
6Leiden24
 Nijmegen24
7Eindhoven23
8Den Haag22,5
 Groningen22,5
9Utrecht21,5
10Delft20

Remarkably, the ranking has changed completely compared to the first edition, published in 2017. Enschede was at the bottom of the list, and then-winner Delft is now in rank 10 out of 13, because the relaxed policy for turning homes into student housing rooms has been made a lot more strict in the past year.

A lot has changed in other cities, too. “Currently, student housing is a hot issue in many cities, which leads to regulations being assessed, rules either being relaxed or in fact made more strict,” the report says.

Utrecht second to last
Last year, at least, there were three cities ranking lower than Utrecht. This year, Utrecht ranks second to last. The jury says students are only worse off in Delft if they’re looking for student housing. Utrecht gets failing grades for half of the criteria the report assessed.

The jury is especially critical of the way private home rentals are regulated in the city, among other reasons because Utrecht is the most expensive city to get your home approved for renting out rooms (€ 2,811.80 ). The landlord-to-be also needs to meet some very strict requirements in order to be allowed to rent out a room. The house, for instance, needs to have a floor space of at least 24 m2 per resident, and there are additional rules about sound insulation. Permits are also rejected in case the city feels the habitability of a certain area would diminish as a result of the rental situation.

The National Student Union is positive, however, about the way the municipality provides information to tenants and landlords. In that criterion, Utrecht – like Amsterdam – receives the maximum score. The jury is also ‘enthusiastic’ about projects such as the free rental team, the hotline for reporting slumlords, and the website normalehuur.nl (normal rent.nl). That doesn’t balance out the low scores in other elements, though.

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