Historic Social Housing deal in Amsterdam

20 July 2017

Historic Social Housing deal in Amsterdam

Foto: Laurens Ivens

Laurens Ivens of the Socialist Party, executive member of the city council responsible for housing policy, has brokered a far-reaching affordable housing deal in Amsterdam. The deal breaks fundamentally with former neoliberal housing policies in which 70% of the Amsterdam homes are allocated to the free market. With this radical turn the City Council of Amsterdam is striving to put an end to the alarming boom in soaring commercial rents and explosively rising mortgages for home owners. 

‘The People of Amsterdam and their children must be able to live in Amsterdam and must be able to continue to do so in the future,’ says Laurens Ivens, executive council member responsible for  Building, Housing Planning and Community Development and leader of the Socialist Party in Amsterdam. ‘The free market proves to be a bad deal for people with lower and middle incomes. Since we do not want Amsterdam to turn into a second London it is necessary to take action now and re-regulate the housing market.’
The new policy stipulates that in all future  Amsterdam urban development projects 40% of the newly built homes must have low rents for lower income families and 40% must have affordable rents for middle income families. This leaves only 20% for the free market.  Amsterdam is currently developing approximately 50,000 new homes to be completed in 2025.

Laurens Ivens is very pleased with the new policy: ‘Finally we have managed to re-regulate a good part of the housing market. Prices had been spiralling to an absurdly high level, which was making it all but impossible for normal citizens to find living space in the city. We want a city for the people, not for the market. With this affordable housing policy we are taking important steps to make a difference.’ Last summer  Ivens also reached an internationally renowned agreement with Airbnb to regulate illegal holiday home letting.  ‘Illegal holiday home letting via Airbnb is disrupting a fair housing system,’ says Ivens.’ The citizens of Amsterdam must be protected against the laws of capital.’

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